A Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22
Thirst is at once an interesting film. From the standpoint of a vampire historian, the film manages to go places and try things that haven't been attempted in vampire films before. At times gruesome, darkly funny, graphically violent, overtly erotic, and ultimately disturbing, Thirst manages to create a flavor (no pun intended) that is unique among horror films. However, it may not be a taste that everyone will appreciate.
The story follows Sang-hyun, a Catholic priest, who out of a desire to help others, volunteers for a medical experiment during which he is infected with a disease that causes him to vomit and his skin to blister. At one point he is about to die and is in need of blood and is given a transfusion. But the transfusion mysteriously turns him into a vampire. The priest, now the only survivor out of 50 other volunteers who were infected, is regarded as something of a miracle worker and people bring him their sick and dying in the hope that he can save them, though he has no powers to heal others. One of the men who comes to seek healing is the repulsive Kang-woo, a childhood friend of Sang-hyun, who asks to be healed of his disease. Sang-hyun ends up moving into the city where he works at a hospital, where he steals blood to drink, and meets with Kang-woo, Kang-woo's mother, wife, and friends. It's not long before Sang-hyun falls in love with Kang-woo's wife, Tae-ju, and they begin a steamy adulterous affair. When Tae-ju, who is unhappy in her marriage to Kang-woo and sick of being treated like nothing more than a servant, lies and tells Sang-hyun that Kang-woo is abusive towards her, Sang-hyun kills Kang-woo during a fishing trip. Sang-hyun begins a violent path into his own dark side, which he had repressed before, and he ends up killing a fellow priest who wants to use Sang-hyun's blood to cure his blindness. Soon both Sang-hyun and Tae-ju begin having eerie hallucinations (whether they are supernatural or imagined is never explained) that Kang-woo's waterlogged corpse is haunting them. After an argument, Sang-hyun hits Tae-ju and she accidentally reveals that Kang-woo had never hurt her physically before, at which point Sang-hyun becomes so outraged and Tae-ju becomes so guilt-ridden that she begs him to kill her which he does. But he regrets this decision and cuts his own wrist allowing his vampiric blood to flow into her mouth, reviving her as a vampire too. But Tae-ju's personality changes and she becomes a sadistic predator who takes joy in killing those she feeds off. During a game of mahjong, she and Sang-hyun are exposed as Kang-woo's murderers by Kang-woo's paralyzed mother. Tae-ju kills their mahjong guests which leads Sang-hyun to finally accept that they are both too dangerous to remain alive (or undead). So, he takes Tae-ju and Kang-woo's mother on a long drive to the coast where he secretly plans to trap himself and Tae-ju as the sun rises which will mercifully end their monstrous existence (along the way despite being consumed by he inexplicably stops at a camp where the sick and dying worship him as a healing saint and there he rapes and feeds off of a sick woman). Together the two vampires die as the sun rises and Kang-woo's paralyzed mother watches with a smile on her face as her son's murderers finally die.
The story has all the elements of a good Asian melodrama and much of the minimalistic style that is common among Asian dramas, but somehow while the story, characters, and direction all work beautifully to create a tragic, disturbing and at times sickeningly funny film, I couldn't help but feel that the editing and the script could have been improved upon. In terms of the screenplay, I think that the transfusion should have been better explained as should the entire early part of the film with the virus, but there are also moments which felt that they could have been slowed down to focus more on the characters and the changes that were happening to them (Tae-ju seems to be quite happy to be a vampire despite having wanted to die just a few moments earlier in the film). So there are inconsistencies and moments that just don't quite add up. As far as the editing goes, I would have loved for the film's pacing to have been kept a bit slower in the last third as we see Sang-hyun and Tae-ju discover their lethal potential. Slowing this portion of the film down would have increased the suspense as well as the viewers' emotional connection to the characters which kind of gets lost around the two-thirds mark.
On the upside, the film is gorgeously shot, the action scenes are interesting, the acting is superb, and the direction is also very well done. I think that the film works well as an original approach on vampirism and I like how it dealt with the themes of lust, violence, and the downward spiral of Tae-ju as she becomes both sexually and vampirically a predator. I just wish that it had been structured a little differently and taken more time to show the back-story and the slow progressive horrors of becoming a ruthless killer.