Thirst ★★½

The basic conception of the Vampire often involves ideas relating to the battle between good and evil, wooden stakes and a resistance of sunlight. But it's arguable that a lot of the vital subtext has been lost over time. Bram Stoker's novel 'Dracula' can be viewed as showing a manifestation of the antichrist at a time of ever growing religious doubt precipitated largely by the emergence of Darwinist principles.
Park Chan Wook returns to some of these theological notions by making his central character a priest who after being infected with a serious illness meets the disturbed Tae Jun and becomes obsessed with human blood and illicit sex. After surviving a virus that has killed everyone else who has been afflicted he is seen by many as a Messiah like figure able to cure sick people.
This is a darkly comic offering that as usual with Chan-Wook has plenty of moments of visual creativity. But it's far too long at over two hours with a central love affair that sometimes struggles to really engage. Once you've peeled away the stylish layers there isn't a lot underneath the surface. It also refuses to develop Tae Ju's character who is conveyed as being too childlike and basic to generate any real interest. It never successfully deals with the serious themes regarding how she has been affected by years of cruelty by an abusive family, a particularly weighty subject that is shown too much on the periphery when it should feel more consequential. All that remains is a flashy but mostly empty vampire flick that lacks distinction in an overly saturated subgenre.

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