park chan-wook's thirst in theaters friday

Thirst, the highly-anticipated latest film from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, opens in select theaters this Friday, July 31. If you know anything about this director, you know he makes movies that kick your ass. I had the chance to see Thirst a couple of weeks ago, and damn, I really liked it.

This one's a vampire movie. Specifically, a movie about a priest who becomes a vampire. That's almost all you really need to know, right? Park Chan-wook makes a movie about a priest who becomes a vampire. Say no more. Where do I buy my ticket?

Song Kang-ho stars as Sang-hyun, a priest who cherishes life; so much so, that he selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project meant to eradicate a deadly virus. But the virus takes him, and he receives an urgent blood transfusion... of vampire blood. Uh oh.

Struggling with his newfound carnal desire for blood, Sang-hyun's faith is further strained when a childhood friend's wife comes to him asking for his help in escaping her life. Sang-hyun soon plunges into a world of sensual pleasures, finding himself on intimate terms with the Seven Deadly Sins.

The movie won the Prix du Jury at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival, but I've heard that it's received some mixed reviews. I can see why, though anyone who's looking for a traditional vampire flick should probably look elsewhere. Believe me, this ain't no Twilight.

This is a thinking man's vampire movie, one that grapples with some really interesting questions and dilemmas. And as usual, Park manages to inject some dark, delicious humor in the most absurd situations. My only issue is with the movie's pacing; it runs pretty long and drags a bit in the middle.

Overall, this is an intriguing, enthralling movie... but definitely not for the faint of heart. There's a lot of blood (it's a vampire movie), violence and sex, and none of it is very pretty. Don't say I didn't warn you. To learn more about the movie, and to watch the trailer, go to the Thirst website here.

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