Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thirst [2009]

After being completely mesmerized by South Korea's Vengeance Triology, Park Chan-Wook wasted no time catapulting his way a top my list of favourite foreign directors.  So it was to no surprise that when I heard rumblings of Chan-Wook taking on the mythos of vampires in his next feature, my excitement much in fact, that I'm pretty, moved.  Somewhere, George Costanza can relate.

Father Darkman

In true Chan-Wook fashion, nothing is ordinary or normal.  Sang-hyeon is a loyal servant of the church and flaccid penis.  After the lifelong devotion becomes unfulfilling and un-fu-fucking he selflessly volunteers himself to an experimental medical project to help find a cure for a deadly disease elbola-ing through innocent lives.  He dies, gets a (vampire) blood transfusion, and miraculously recovers.  

Add a scrumptious hottie, Mahjong, armpit licking, barefoot sprinting, bloody vomit fluting, feats of strength, popped cherries, religious sins and nightly feedings from a local hospital's coma department and you have one of the most fucked up and intensely interesting Asian horrors since Takashi Miike's Visitor Q.  But even with all that, I must hold the prays back a bit.

Spanning over 2hrs and 15mins it's a real mental workout.  The extremely dark tone and depressing nature of the story, running that long, are like gift bags of razor blades at suicide wards.  This, ultimately, won't sit well for fear finders just looking for some quick blood and gratuitous nudity.  Thirst is definitely not for the weak of patience or lack of sleeped.

Chan-Wook attempts to liven up the undertaking with  some comic relief [since he can't physically come through your 1080p and poke you ("hey, you still awake?")].  Unfortunately, the frequent interruptions of dark humor seem to do more harm than good despite their comical genius.  These bumps in the road are more like lengthy detours, scenic or not.  And they left me...not bored...but really fuckin' tired to say the least.

Not to mention, the almost equally as heavy drag on the story was the entire angle of lingering religious sentiments; which held back back our protagonist`s eventual and incredibly obvious fate even more so.  I found it unnecessary and somewhat degrading - priest oò no priest...just tell us he doesnt want to kill someone for food or otherwise and you could`ve saved us a half hour.

Those points aside, Thirst is inventive, twisted, and another solid and recent installment to the vampire genre...bloodsuckers should rejoice.  Soundly produced, skillfully shot, and masterfully written...comparatively, not unlike Let The Right One In.  Trimmed down, it would`ve had a stranglehold on 9 or 10, but as it stands...


ps - the North American DVD release...not a god damn extra to be found...not even a trailer...fuckin bastards!


Carl (ILHM) said...

WTF is up with that bare bones release?? After the underground success of the Vengeance films they go and skimp on us? BS man..

Looking forward to this one, too bad being concise isnt one of Park's strong points this time around

Carl (ILHM) said...

Hey dude, just wanted to wish you a happy holiday incase I dont stop by sooner! Bring on more great reviews for 2010 =D