Those of us who are practicing churchgoers would enjoy seeing a movie
about a devoted, beloved, humble pastor, making hospital visits, leading
worship, praying with his congregation, and carefully conforming himself to
the behavioral standards expected of him by the church.
This priest is so selfless that he volunteers for a medical experiment,
being injected with the latest virulent virus in a desperate attempt to find a
cure. All the other 500 subjects
die except him, and he comes close, but his hasty transfusion is with infected
blood that turns him into a….vampire. And
now he is besieged wherever he goes by the unfortunate, who are convinced that
his miraculous survival has given him healing powers.
At first, he attempts to comply with their demands, but he can no
longer ignore the dramatic changes taking place in his own body.
Part of the suspense now is that it only slowly dawns upon him that he
can no longer enjoy the dawn. He
has such a powerful thirst for human blood that he finds it convenient to
volunteer as a night chaplain at the local hospital, so he can avail himself
of comatose patients. It seems
that his sudden lust also includes an appetite for carnal knowledge, which the
wife of his best friend seems happy to provide.
(Note to viewer: the
consummation scenes in this Korean film are more breathlessly explicit, and
gratuitously visual, than those that we surreptitiously enjoy here.)
His best friend’s mother, a drunken old harpy who unhappily lives
with them, suffers a stroke which condemns her to see what’s happening
without being able to do anything about it (which would also describe the
situation of the viewers).
This is not your typical vampire movie.
Instead of the weekly poker game, it’s the weekly game of mahjong,
but unfortunately, friends become fair game, as well.
Our friendly parish priest finds it increasingly difficult to perform
his ecclesiastical duties, since he now sleeps in a coffin by day, and spends
his nights indulging his newfound passions, which now include the occasional
random murder. He exhibits a
rough kind of invulnerability: when
he cuts himself, he heals instantly. He
can now leap tall buildings in a single bound, and bend coins with his bare
hands. He doesn’t seem to be
aging. This hellish existence
could be infernally eternal, especially after his paramour discovers that she
can be transubstantiated, also, by partaking of his blood.
(Yes, they play with that theological theme in the movie, as well, the
priest gazing into the cup of wine at communion.)
Yes, much of this screenplay is potentially offensive, but also wryly
amusing, as if you literally can’t guess what’s going to happen next. And
does it diffuse the offensiveness of the language if it’s spoken in Korean
but written as a subtitle in English?
And how much offsetting karma is there
in a Christological kind of self-sacrifice at the end, you know, giving
yourself up in order to save the world? The
irony there, of course, is that you’re the evil that you’re saving the
Well. “Thirst” is
definitely for the adventurous mature moviegoer only.
And then only if you’re in the mood for something completely