Monday, July 20, 2009


Pretend that you are a humble Catholic priest who nobly volunteered to be a test subject for a new vaccine. It goes horribly wrong, and you are the only one of the batch of test subjects who survives (due to a blood transfusion with some dodgy blood). While trying to live down your miraculous survival, you go back to your life of service in a hospital when you are struck by an urge to drink blood. Luckily a hospital is not a bad place to do this, given you are not into killing people. But then unfortunately you run into one of those school chums you'd prefer never to have met again. You know the the sort: runny nose, awful laugh, no social skills, but between him and his mother they know some embarrassing stuff about your childhood. To top it all off you begin to have trouble controlling your most unpriest-like lust for this dude's cute wife.

That is basically the synopsis for Park Chan-wook's vampire film Thirst. He keeps to the general conventions of vampire movies but throws out some of the mumbo jumbo such as fear of crucifixes. This idea of vampirism as more of a medical condition than an anti-Christian evil makes it feel much more plausible and a better fit with modern South Korea. Most vampire movies follow Bram Stoker's model and are told from the point of view of the potential victims or vampire hunters, but Thirst takes the point of view of the vampire. This tends to limit the opportunities for shock but increases the angst for our priest vampire.

Though there is no angst for the other vampire in the film, unrestrained by being a priest or even vaguely religious she relishes the power and opportunities that she didn't have in her prior life. She is out to have much more fun, leading to a show down with our protagonist.

This film is 130 minutes long and several times just when you think Park Chan-wook is tying the plot threads together for a conclusion he goes off on a fresh direction. That aside Thirst is modern view of vampirism that doesn't depend on pseudo religious Gothic hokum.

Ian's rating 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment