Top 25 Korean Films - No. 18

Thirst (Dir. Park Chan-wook, 2009)

Given something of a cold reaction on its initial release (I’ll admit I was among those not drawn to it at first), Thirst has steadily grown from being an oddity in Park Chan-wook’s catalogue to one of his most championed works. The promise of Park pairing up with Song Kang-ho for a vampire film was always an enticing one but the slowburn Thirst, with a stylized but less clinical mise-en-scene than the auteur had become known for, wasn’t exactly what people had been expecting.

As a priest who is forced to grapple with his beliefs and morals when he becomes a vampire, Song puts in a haunted performance and a terrific lineup of supporting stars incarnate the bizarre coterie of characters that give the film its otherwordly quality. Park’s camera winds its away around his sets in some of the most imaginative ways caught in a Korean film but it would all be for nothing were it not for the film’s thematic complexity and unnerving atmosphere.

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