Korean vampire flick
The success of Twilight has inevitably paved the way for a glut of vampire- themed movies of varying merit. But Park Chan-wook’s Thirst is well worth sinking your teeth into. Admittedly overlong and occasionally disjointed, the film nevertheless offers a bold new take on the genre that’s wickedly amusing and strangely moving.
When Father Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) volunteers for a medical experiment designed to eradicate a killer virus sweeping his homeland, he becomes infected and requires a transfusion that turns him into a vampire. Once home, he must juggle his dependence with a newfound sexual appetite for Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin), the wife of a childhood friend who is seeking her own escape.
Just as he did with his Oldboy trilogy, Park has created an involving human drama out of a dark, violent premise. Song’s conflicted priest provides a fascinating anti-hero, juggling issues of faith with survival, while Kim’s Tae-ju steals the show as she transforms from mild-mannered innocent to all-consuming vamp.
Not every idea is fully realised and the film takes some odd directions but a killer final third ensures that this vampire tale lives long in the memory.
(18) 133mins. General release from Fri 16 October.