I don’t think it can be said that I am a big lover of vampires. To be honest, I feel like the sub-genre has gotten tired and played out. We are still stuck on the same romantic notions of vampires that Anne Rice gave us in her fiction and, while there have been some really interesting side trips from the norm, these are just brief jaunts that bring us inevitably back to the norm, which is the sad, romantic vamp just looking for love. Yawn. What I appreciated most about Thirst was that it did present something different, and by that I mean something genuine.
In the hope of helping aid researchers looking for a cure to terribly and deadly disease a young priest offers his body and life as a patient. He will be given the disease and then they will try their ‘cures’ on him in the hope of finding a genuine cure. Unfortunately he winds up like so many before him, falling quickly to the disease and ending up as dead as the rest. But in death, there is life for the young priest. It seems that the last serum did work on him, and cured him completely, but in curing him it gave him another sort of disease, one that is not so friendly as to simply kill him. The new disease, for all intents and purposes, is vampiric and it is only blood that can take away the symptoms that begin to develop between feedings. With the blood though he becomes stronger, more agile, and fearless. Suddenly this curse seems like a gift, and as he begins to explore this gift he finds himself drifting further and further from the man he was, a priest. He quickly finds out that the cost of this cure is too great for him to bear but isn’t sure he has the strength to do anything to stop it.
This is another beautiful directing job by Korean director Park Chan-Wook and really shows his visual style and sense of character. In this film these are real people and this is a real disease and it is not the glamorous life most vampire films show us. This is a tragic film with a wonderfully portrayed lead that agonizes over the lost of his faith and humanity. As good as the pieces are though, the whole just doesn’t feel that revelatory. It’s a good film, to be sure, but it just doesn’t seem like a step beyond what he has done in the past. Perhaps I wanted too much from him and from this film. I just know that when it was over, I felt the same as I did when I saw I’m A Cyborg But That’s OK and that was that it was a beautiful film, and worth watching, but not anything I would return to. As a director he has proven he has vision and greatness, and I look forward to more films that will live up to that, but, for now, this is worth a look.
6 out of 10