Saturday, July 24, 2010

These Vampires Don't Sparkle!

“Vampires are like cockroaches. They’re everywhere!” according to author Neil Gaiman.

It’s not actually surprising. Vampires are wonderful, frightening, powerful expressions of primal hunger and lust, a perfect foil for putting people in a tight spot.

Well, unless they’re sparkling.

In any event, the vampires in Chan-Wook Park’s movie “Thirst” (2009) definitely do not sparkle. Not one tiniest flicker. If you need to cleans your palate after getting roped into watching Bella and her boy toys, this is a good choice.

Sang-hyeon, a Catholic priest, submits to an experiment to attempt to find the cure for the deadly Emmanuel virus. He ends up with a condition that requires him to drink human blood and avoid sunlight. As he is learning to live with this, he starts having an affair with the wife of a childhood friend, and things go bad very quickly from there.

The movie approaches vampirism from a strictly modern perspective. Medicine and science are the source of the trouble, but human desires and failings bring about the horror of the story.

The story appears to be based on the novel Thérèse Raquin, by Émile Zola, except that Zola had no vampires. The movie has a satisfying ending, mirroring the novel almost exactly, with some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen. Definitely put this in your Netflix queue!


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