Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009)

This article contains spoilers. So be careful.

Bakjwi aka Thirst is a film directed by Park-Chan Wook, famous for his Vengeance Trilogy, especially the film Oldboy.
What attracted me to this film was its crazy premise. It’s about a priest, who after taking part of an experiment to cure a terrible disease, becomes a vampire. Yes, this is a vampire film. And one like I’ve never seen before. Our protagonist Sang-Hyun, the priest, meets Tae-ju, an unhappy girl married to a sick man and living with his mother. Once his new way of life takes over his whole body, he stops being a priest, and embraces what he is now.

Thirst is more a love story than a horror one. Sang-Hyun and Tae-ju become attracted to each other and fall in love. If I had one word to describe this relationship, it would be twisted. At one point in the film, Tae-ju is turned into a vampire by Sang-Hyun. In this universe is just necessary to drink the blood from a vampire to become one. Once they are both vampires, things get out of hand. Tae-ju becomes more hungry and even kills people. All of this happens after they kill her husband and the mother is thrown into a vegetative state from the sadness of losing her only child.

Tae-ju evolves through the film. She is presented at the beginning as an unhappy woman who wants to escape her world. You feel sorry for her for the way she is treated by her husband and mother and you wish that she gets out of her shell. Once she becomes a vampire, you start to hate her, she becomes a blood-craving monster and see how needy and how evil she was from the very beginning.

Sang-Hyun is a victim in all this. He didn’t wish to become a vampire. He is still sick with the disease contacted from the experiment. He has episodes when he coughs a great amount of blood and blisters grow all over his body. This kind of vampire isn’t immortal and immune to sickness like the other vampires seen in other films, although he regenerates his bruises and wounds.

As I said before, Thirst focuses more on the twisted relationship of the two, but the horror element is still present in many scenes. This film is incredibly gory, like all the Korean horror films I’ve seen so far. It has some disgusting moments, even the sex scenes are freaky. The body count is high enough and the deaths are brutal with broken bones and a lot of blood. It isn’t scary or eerie at all, it’s just twisted. Everything about this couple is kinky and destructive and honestly, sick. But I liked it this way.

I honestly expected a more contemplative film. I found the premise to be very interesting, but I didn’t expect the film to go this way. I don’t know why I thought of this considering the fact that I’ve seen some other Park-Chan Wook films and they are not eerie and contemplative, they are violent and bat-shit crazy.

Now about the acting, it was really good. I’ve searched a bit on the Internet and found out that two actors are very well known in South Korea, the actress even being a pop star. Why I’ve said this? Because the actor has a full frontal scene and the actress does a lot of nude scenes and they both do some kinky stuff. They are well known in the country and they don’t care about their image. In Hollywood it would be controversial for a movie star to do a full frontal scene. I don’t think they would ever do that. And I was surprised to see how dedicated the actors were. I’m not talking about the acting, I’m talking about the weird things, weird for me, things they had to do for the role. So, good for them. Any way, they were both great. Congratulations to the rest of the cast too.

I also loved the score for Thirst. It has some romantic pieces of music as well as some spooky, eerie ones to go with the mood. The cinematography is very beautiful with different shades of blue being predominantly on the screen. It has one of the greatest final shots I have even seen on a film, so representative of the film, so perfect.

In conclusion, Thirst is a violent film about a  twisted and destructive love story. One of the most interesting vampire films that I’ve seen that doesn’t glamorize the blood thirsty creatures and chooses to go in a crazy direction. Take note vampire fans.

Can’t believe it was released in my country.

B+

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