Saturday, September 22, 2012


Last night I unofficially launched my Halloween Horror Challenge with the couple of HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR episodes I watched. Tonight is the first feature film in the challenge this year. And yes I am fully aware that I am a week ahead of schedule, but I want to try to get as many in as possible this year.

THIRST (2009)

This very quirky vampire comedy is a strange creature indeed. Coming from the director of OLDBOY one expects it to be left of center. But this films throws the compass out entirely to find its own unnatural bio-rhythms.

Kang Ho-Song stars as a priest named Sang Hyeon, who chooses to go to a secluded hospital to be part of an experiment to help cure a deadly disease called EV. In doing so he understands he takes the risk of dying from the communicable virus. But during the process he ends up with something worse. He becomes a vampire, but yet is still carrying the disease as well. He becomes a martyr figure to all those suffering from fatal afflictions, all of whom ask him to pray over them in hopes of a cure. They even camp out in tents like an I-Phone sale in hopes of him laying on of hands. Working the hospital he meets a family he spent a lot of time with when he was an orphan child. Because the eldest boy Kang Wu ( Ha-Kyun Shin) has what appears to be cancer. Sang ends up living with the family and falling into a torrid affair with Kang Wu's wife (and former adopted sister) Tea-Ju (a blistering performance by Ok-Bin Kim). Soon there is murder being plotted and more characters entering the Living Dead fold.

While this is a vampire film, and therefor already part of a VERY tired sub-genre, there is NOTHING normal about THIRST. Tonally it is a bizarre and quite gory black comedy. But under the surface it is thematically about poison relationships, weather they be between couples or even one's relationship with God. The vampirism is treated much more like a medical virus that brings out the worst in each character. Making them MORE of what they already are. Sang-Hyeon is a gentle God fearing man at the start and slowly, almost against his will becomes a monster who will kill to satiate his lusts. Tea-Ju on the other hand takes to being a monster quite easily, lying, cheating and ultimately killing, a lot, to meet her new needs. 

But even with all the heavy thematic elements the film still succeeds at being funny and scary too. It never tries to be a knock you out scare fest. Instead the movie is a slowly creeping up kind of nasty scare that candy coats the bullet with quirky humor.

A great change of pace horror film for those looking for something quite a bit different.

Review © Andrew Copp

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