Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009)

*Watched as part of the Asia-thon 2016 Film Project*

What's it about? A priest (Song Kang-ho) struggling with his faith volunteers for a medical experiment, only for a blood transfusion to accidentally transform him into a vampire. With the vampire blood heightening his crisis of faith, things are further complicated by his attraction to his friend's wife.

Is it any good? A typically macabre story from the stylish South Korean director Chan-wook, with some wonderfully evocative imagery, particularly in the sparing, but effective, use of redder-than-red blood in certain scenes. This is a thoughtful, philosophical spin on the vampire myth, with the vocation of its central character emphasising the elements of sin, carnal desires and guilt that go with the vampire lifestyle. As such, it moves rather slowly, but it's worth sticking with as it builds to a satisfyingly downbeat ending by way of some memorable moments. Not quite as good as Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy, but if you prefer your vampires not to look pretty and sparkle, this is a darkly erotic and blackly comic alternative. Based on the 1867 Emile Zola novel Therese Raquin, which features precisely no priests or vampires. Go figure. 

Anything else I should know? The Asia-thon 2016 Film Project is my New Year's resolution to watch more films from the Far East, a project which is both laudable and insufferably pretentious. A full list of films viewed can be found here.

What does the Fonz think? Bottoms up! Cheers!

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