Year of release: 2009
Director: Chan-woo Park
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ok-vin Kim, Hae-sook Kim, Ha-kyun Shin
Genre: Drama, horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Synopsis:Chan-Woo Park is well known to most audiences for his fantastic and unforgettable "Old Boy", that gave him the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival of 2004. His latest film stars Hang-ho Song, star of "The Host" as a member of the clergy that volunteers to be part of a medical experiment in order to isolate a possible virus that has been killing monks, and possibly develop a vaccine. When the virus kills him, a blood transfusion brings him back to life, with some unexpected consequences. His need for blood is constant, otherwise the virus comes back in full strength with mortal/deadly consequences. Simultaneously he becomes involved with a family he knew from his younger boyhood days, becoming increasingly attached to the young wife of his childhood friend.
"Thirst" is not a conventional vampire film: the same way "28 Days Later" presented a different concept of zombies, this film presents a different concept of vampires. The thirsty ones here don't have fangs, but are mortally sensitive to the virus that eats them away and to sunlight. Chan-Woo Park decides to make the film about the dynamics of a close family, and how the disease slowly eats everyone away, one way or another. Similarly to David Cronenberg's "The Fly" where Jeff Goldblum's character embraces the mutation that is eating him away, one of the characters that is transformed by the virus, embraces the difference and relishes the pleasure and liberty that it provides. This is a definite different take on vampires, that embraces ghost stories, without going the supernatural way similar to many Hollywood treatments of the subject matter. Definitely worth checking out.