'Thirst’ is the Korean take on the vampire craze that is sweeping through the western world. This horror/drama movie takes a new look at vampirism and its causes and effects so that while it’s not exactly groundbreaking, it is at least a new angle on the sub-genre of vampires.
Thirst is the story of a priest who goes from helping the poor and doing God’s work to fighting to keep from drinking the blood of those around him and stealing away his childhood friend’s wife who is bored and lonely in her marriage to him. The movie takes a look not only at how a vampire can be created, but also how someone can go from a position of good and righteousness to depravity and darkness. The priest Sang-hyun has an incurable disease called EV (Emmanuel Virus) which strikes the celibate and is fatal. He offers himself up to an experimental treatment figuring to help himself and others with this disease and ends up dying. However, instead of staying dead, he wakes up with a strong aversion to sunlight and craving human blood-in short, a vampire.
If this isn’t bad enough, he also meets up with an old friend and his disgruntled and beautiful wife; now the former priest has to fight against both the urge to kill humans and steal the beautiful woman his friend is married to. However, there is only so long he can do both and he quickly gets into an affair with the girl which is on and off; when the girl of his dreams offers to help him kill her husband, he has one final chance to avoid utter evil and try to do right, despite himself.
Thirst is directed by Park Chan-wook who loves to explore human passions and the darker parts of life, including descents into more primal behaviors. Song Kang-ho plays Sang-hyun, the repressed priest, turned insatiable (in more ways than one) vampire; Kim Ok-bin as the beautiful and trapped Tae-ju; Shin Ha-kyun as the ill husband of Tae-ju and Kim Hae-sook as Shin Ha-kyun’s overbearing mother. The movie has already enjoyed some critical acclaim and won the Jury Prize. It also grossed the top box office hit for three weeks, with over one million tickets sold over the nation.
Thirst may not be incredibly original and the premise is a little far fetched, but it is poignant and gory in all the right places, making it the perfect blend of horror and drama. This movie also takes a different look at vampirism, pitching it as something that is more akin to a disease than something supernatural. The movie is also more interested in looking at how humans would react to suddenly being stronger, faster, etc. and how their relationships with others would change rather than simply having a blood bath of a movie. For these reasons, Thirst is a better vampire movie than many of the other ones that are on the market and thus is worth watching if you get the chance.