31 Days of Horror: Thirst (2009)

31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy!


Father Sang-hyeon (Song Kang-ho) is searching for ways to help his flock, but when a failed medical experiment leaves him with a thirst for blood and a craving for life’s more carnal desires he finds serving the Lord may no longer be an option. Complicating things further is a young woman named Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin) whose plea for help leads to seduction, murder and a threat to his new lifestyle. Director Park Chan-wook‘s last Korean film before turning his eye towards his upcoming American debut (Stoker) is a sexy, bloody, beautifully shot and blackly comic horror film.

Killer Scene

Lots to choose from here including Father Sang-hyeon’s brilliantly executed suicide attempt, the scene where he leaps from rooftop to rooftop with Tae-ju in his arms, the murder discussion in a boat with the victim-to-be sitting nervously within earshot, Tae-ju’s vicious throat stab and slurping of a stranger’s neck or the quietly sad and hilarious finale. But the only real choice is the post-Mahjong slaughter scene. After painting the walls, floors and ceilings of an apartment white Sang-hyeon and Tae-ju host a game night that spins wildly out of control sending the red stuff spurting with abandon.

Thirst Park Chan-wook

Kill Sheet


3 Skulls Out of 5

Sang-hyeon’s growing sex drive sees him spend some wonderfully fleshy time with Tae-ju, and the result is several scenes worth of carnal behavior. She goes topless for a cowgirl session, he sucks her toes, she sucks his thumb, he licks her armpit, they both strip down for some hospital bed copulation, they show off their post-coital bums… you get the idea. There’s also a fun three-way with the two of them and the imaginary ghost of the man they drowned.


3.5 Skulls Out of 5

Most of the violence here is against others, but Sang-hyeon does have a brief spell where he takes his frustrations out on himself including beating his thigh with a ruler (to damper his sex drive) and leaping from a third story window to kill himself (unsuccessful, but hilarious). We also get stabbings, a fish hook through an ear, a drowning, a death by corkscrew and some physical abuse of the hitting and throwing variety. The vampiric bloodletting ups the ante considerably to include sliced flesh, blood-covered suckling, the slaughter mentioned above and more.


1 Skull Out of 5

There aren’t much in the way of traditional scares here as jumps and jolts aren’t really what the film is about. Instead we get a nice mash up of the fear of death alongside the fear of living for eternity.

Final Thoughts

Thirst is unique among Park’s filmography in its embrace of the supernatural over purely human interactions, but he combines the two together with a bloody grace and wit. It’s a beautiful-looking film, second only to his Lady Vengeance, and sees him manage some truly impressive set-pieces made stunning through camera-work and design. Equally pleasant on the eyes is the gorgeous Miss Kim who gives a stellar performance as the abused and downtrodden housewife with secrets of her own.

Far from a traditional horror film it still manages some truly horrific moments as people fall victim to bloodlust and killers suffer the resulting guilt with visual reminders of their deeds. Park explores that guilt as weighed against desire, both to do good and to do very, very bad, and he follows it through to the end with stops along the way for bloody violence, sexy fun times and serious repercussions.

How Can You See It?- Blu-ray/DVD/Netflix/On Demand

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Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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