Spooktober 22, Day 20: Thirst

Alright, beasties. It’s that spooky time of year again. For this edition of Spooktober, I’m going to do a post a day but, like a great haul after trick or treating, I’m hoping to mix it up and deliver some surprises. There’ll be reviews, new or old, seen/unseen, TV or film. Depending on my wicked mood, there may also be lists, audio, or video. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember: stay spooky.

A well-known and beloved priest Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is tired of seeing people perish from a deadly virus. In turn, he volunteers for an experimental procedure to find a cure, but doesn’t live through it. However, unbeknownst to anyone, the blood used in his transfusion is different and brings him back to life. It seems like a miracle, and perhaps, hope, that a cure is in their grasp. But soon, Sang-hyun finds himself changing. At first, it’s a stronger sense of smell, then its odd cravings, and then a sensitivity to sunlight. Bumps are appearing on his skin, and he seems to be getting weaker, until, he accepts the truth he’s been avoiding: he needs to drink blood.

source: Focus Features

Sang-hyun at heart is a very giving man, and he finds that he can “sip” from a comatose patient’s I.V without causing harm to anyone, or drawing attention. He frequently visits people in the hospital for prayer, so it’s a smart plan. This suffices for a time, but soon he notices other new urges, specifically when it comes to Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin), the wife of his childhood friend, Kang-u (Shin Ha-kyun) who is stuck in an abusive family, and the desires he feels.

Directed by Park Chan-wook and co-written by Park Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-kyeong Thirst is a beautifully designed, sensual, and yet violent affair. The chemistry between the two leads is electric, and it makes for some sultry scenes. Their lust for each other, and also for blood, makes for an intriguing psychological, emotional and physical dance. The acting is terrific, and the direction and writing slick and compelling.

My only complaint, and its minimal, is its length. There are a few periods that stretch on longer than they probably need to, but ultimately, I also can’t think of what I’d possibly cut. Thirst has ample amounts of style too, and a script that touches on heady themes of temptation, faith, love, as well as what you’re giving up with immortality. Can your soul remain pure?

Heartbreaking, funny, sexy, disturbing, and even sweet at times, Thirst manages to be an intriguing rumination on vampires that stays afloat amid an ocean of its predecessors.

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