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Thirst (2009)

Bakjwi (original title)
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Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways.


Chan-wook Park (as Park Chan-wook)


Émile Zola (inspired by "Thérèse Raquin"), Chan-wook Park (screenplay by) (as Park Chan-wook) | 1 more credit »
4,260 ( 208)
16 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kang-ho Song ... Sang-hyun (as Song Kang-ho)
Hee-jin Choi Hee-jin Choi ... Nurse Sa
Dong-soo Seo Dong-soo Seo ... Hyo-sung
Hwa-ryong Lee Hwa-ryong Lee ... Doctor Ku
Mi-ran Ra Mi-ran Ra ... Nurse Yu
In-hwan Park ... Priest Roh (as Park In-hwan)
Eriq Ebouaney ... Emmanuel Research Director (as Eriq Ebouney)
Thati Peele Thati Peele ... Emmanuel Research Nun (as Onthatile Peele)
Jong-ryol Choi Jong-ryol Choi ... Grandfather
Yong-wan Goo Yong-wan Goo ... Devotee
Woo-seul-hye Hwang ... Whistle Girl
Hae-sook Kim ... Mrs. Ra (as Kim Hae-sook)
Ha-kyun Shin ... Kang-woo (as Shin Ha-kyun)
Ok-bin Kim ... Tae-ju (as Kim Ok-vin)
Dal-su Oh ... Young-du (as Oh Dal-su)


Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies, but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh. Written by Pusan International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lusting after sinful pleasures.


Drama | Horror | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic bloody violence, disturbing images, strong sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



South Korea | USA


Korean | English | French

Release Date:

30 April 2009 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Thirst See more »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,889, 2 August 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original Korean title directly translates to "Bat" See more »


Priest Sang-hyeon: I don't kill anyone, you know. Hoy-sung... He loved helping the hungry. He'd offer me his blood if he wasn't in a coma. If you only heard the sponge cake story.
See more »


References Three... Extremes (2004) See more »


Ich habe genug
(Cantata BWV 82)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The director of Oldboy finally makes a minor mis-step.
7 November 2010 | by oneguyramblingSee all my reviews

A few years back I saw Oldboy. Up until that time in my life I had watched hundreds of foreign language films, loved some and endured others, but nothing to that point gave me the adrenaline rush that this film did.

After Oldboy I sought out the director's other films, loved Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, really liked JSA and thought Sympathy for Lady Vengeance was worthwhile also, if a notch below the rest.

For those keeping score at home, that is a 100% strike rate of 4 out of 4 films. If any director makes 4 strong films in a row I always look forward to whatever they come up with next with great anticipation.

So when I saw that director Chan Wook-Park had a new movie coming out, and that it was a vampire movie? I mean come on. It has to be good doesn't it? Yes and no, Thirst holds true to Wook-Park's deliberate skewing of conventions so that this is not your Twilight, Underworld or Lost Boys vampire film.

That's a good thing by the way.

But at 2 hrs 15+ minutes there is a little too much "filler" here to sit through in between the stronger scenes, which realistically don't have the impact of Wook-Park's better movies.

The movie opens with a Priest named Sang-Hyeon, who is so selfless and giving to humanity that he volunteers himself as a test subject for a horrible disease that basically blisters the skin until the sores and boils explode and move into the respiratory system, killing the infected in a horrible and painful manner.

Sang-Hyeon is expected to die, indeed 500 other infected people did... And he does, temporarily at least.

Upon his return he is now a symbol of purity, having been the only known survivor. He is treated much like a religious figure, something that he so uncomfortable with that he practically goes into hiding, staying with the family of a childhood friend.

Now the friend is basically an idiot, he is married but treats his wife like sh*t, as does his Mother who lives with them, but it seems at this point that Sang-Hyeon has nowhere else to go.

What no-one else knows though, as a result of the blood transfusion that kept him alive through his treatment Sang-Hyeon is now a vampire, but his religious beliefs don't allow him to kill to slake his thirst. He instead volunteers his priestly services at a local hospital and siphons the comatose and suicidal. After ingesting the blood Sang-Hyeon is temporarily "super", in a way that many other cinematic vampires are all the time, although without fresh blood he quickly reverts back to a deteriorating state until another fix is available.

Another side effect of gorging is that he is super-sensitive, and being around the young wife triggers thoughts that only dramatic bouts of self flagellation can quell, (look it up, it's not what you think).

Eventually though Sang-Hyeon allows himself to let the "little priest" go to work, and he and the wife quickly embark on a passionate and clandestine affair, with each episode temporarily returning Sang-Hyeon to full strength.

It is at this point that Sang-Hyeon decides to tell the wife of his dreadful secret, and after the understandable initial shock she "volunteers" to join Sang-Hyeon.

Now that Tae-Joo is a member of the SPF 100+ club, this brings a new obvious wrinkle to her life, as she still must endure the unwelcome existence that is being the dogsbody of the childish Kang-Woo and his controlling Mum.

And from this point the dynamic of the film changes dramatically, with Tae-Joo rapidly coming to terms with the requirements that being a vampire necessitates, and Sang-Hyeon having his own self written code of ethics turned upside down.

Chan Wook-Park doesn't "do" genre films. He seems to start with a core idea or plot element and builds around it with so many other facets that eventually what remains is a film that obeys certain conventions but twists the implementation to the point that the movie becomes almost impossible to categorise.

The two "sympathy" films were both revenge films at their core, as was Oldboy, only not in the Death Wish or cowboy revenge film way. Nothing is that simple in the Wook-Park universe.

Sang-Hyeon isn't a bad guy in the way that we would ordinarily consider a guy who sucks the blood from the living, nor is he an anti-hero. He is a priest who has become a vampire not through choice, who has learned to deal with his situation.

Even the most obvious choice as the "bad guy" in this case, Kang-Woo's Mum, is basically just doing what many other Mothers would (to a point).

Kang-Ho Song, who plays Sang-Hyeon, is in many Wook-Park films, and he is ideal here. He has a great round expressionless face that rarely shows any feeling or passion, and slits for eyes that also don't give anything away - regardless of circumstance - he is equally believable as both a priest and an unwilling vampire here.

While I liked Thirst, and I must admit I would have loved to have the opportunity to spruik a "Korean vampire movie" to my mates, I think that there is just a little too much missing here to give it a strong recommendation.

(Maybe I am a little disappointed because it was a great director that made this admittedly average film, I'm not sure yet.) Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Not a big step backward for Chan Wook-Park, but just a little below his normally strong output. Would benefit from a few more edits.

If you liked this review (or even if you didn't) check out oneguyrambling.com

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