Thirst (2009)

We love South Korean cinema and we love director Park Chan-wook.

Park is well-known for “The Vengeance Trilogy”, i.e. the brilliant Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), the wonderful Oldboy (2003) and the average Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000) is also meant to be very good but we can’t offer our opinion on that one yet.

We’ve seen other examples of splendid South Korea cinema. Memories of Murder (2003) and The Chaser (2008) are excellent crime thrillers. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) is a very good horror. 3-Iron (2004) is a very strong crime romance, and The Brotherhood of War (2004) is a great war movie.

A Bittersweet Life (2005) and I Saw the Devil (2010) are also very popular among crime thriller fans although we found the former a bit too John Woo and the latter a bit too contrived. Both are definitely worth a watch, though; they’re good – just not excellent.

So, on to Park Chan-wook’s highly entertaining Thirst

This film has a bit of everything: action, romance, fantasy, black humour, thrills, violence and highly erotic love scenes. It’s a great story with great acting and, as you’d expect from a foreign film, an original take on an old theme. Which theme? Well… it’s a horror thriller but we won’t give away any more spoilers than that! Just trust us: avoid the trailer, grab a copy and watch it. Just be warned: this ain’t a film for the squeamish!


You can find more information on this Korean-language movie on Wikipedia and IMDb.

Like we always recommend: don’t ruin surprises by reading spoilers or watching trailers. This one gives away all the film’s main themes and story lines:


Title: Bakjwi (2009)

Language: Korean

Direction: Park Chan-wook

Screenplay: Park Chan-wook, Jeong Seo-Kyeong

Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung

Editing: Kim Sang-beom, Kim Jae-beom

Stars: Song Kang-ho, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun


Full Acting Cast and Roles





  1. Park Chan Wook is one of the best directors alive. I just love the scene where he takes the girl and starts jumping off building. Director park is a visual genius .

  2. Fantastic film, seen it twice. It was my introduction to Korean cinema! It’s such a shame we don’t get more subbed films in English-speaking cinemas/countries as we’re missing out on so much.

  3. So glad to see this included. I think Thirst is, along with Interview With A Vampire, one of the few movies that truly make viewers understand that it is a curse to be a vampire. Friggin Twilight has set us off in the wrong direction. Good eye you!

  4. I absolutely loved Thirst! I thought it was an instant vampire classic. Vampire movies have really always been a great tradition in Western cinema, so it was a wonderful surprise to see a vampire tale so expertly crafted by Asian filmmakers. It went immediately to the top of my list of best vamp movies of all time.

  5. This seems like such a unique twist on the vampire genre, I’m surprised it’s never really been done this way before. I’m probably going to watch this one later today, thanks for posting.

  6. Hi, so glad you review films like these…do you have recommendations for an Asian/comedy film? I love love Asian/Korean–Daytime Drinking. Would love to to know if you know anymore films like these??

  7. … returning the visit… what’s there to drink?

    Of what I’ve seen, korean cinema gives the impression of a mutated japanese strain, a far more visceral even animalesque, surreal and excessive, often verging on the pathetic, one.
    Most of the time the storie’s starting point is sure enough realistic and then we emphasize… but as a means to cut deeper.
    It’s in my opinion an entertaining way of storytelling, focused on grabbing our senses.

    Subscribing to what you said; with some pretty impressive results, Park (in general), *The Host, I saw the Devil, Memories of a Murder, The Yellow Sea, A Tale of 2 Sisters, The Chaser, Hard day (very funny), The Wailing*, etc.

    **SPOILERS** (BTW awful word; maybe suitable here “plunder, skin stripped from an animal’)

    Now regarding *Thirst* and Park’s generaly exagerated (irrationalized) driven characters and stories that inexorably end in alienation and violence. The truth is that It’s been some years since I watched *Thirst* but back then the feeling I was left with is that of a tale of love, of loneliness; of the unavoidable need for physicall contact and yet the devouring nature of giving yourself entirely to it; as if love (from a twisted neo-romantic perspective) was a poisonous alimony; and you’re hungry but it also consumes yourself… something like that. That’s quite the motu in Chan-wook Park’s work IMO. These are just movies, but I feel compeled to say that in real life not only I do not subscribe the narrowing down of such power to unipersonal relating as I think (believing/following/embracing) this (as in general hollywood’s too) way of looking at existence unbalances the potential each one of us has to develop, to atain realization and peace =)

    Personally I enjoy better when the “residues” kick in on a more conceiled manner, meanwhile the story unfolds – see Buñuel’s references to true power of cinema. Examples of this could be found in Buñuel of course, Tarkovsky, Cassavettes (in an unique way) and more recently in fils like ***Old Joy***, Copie Conforme, The Loneliest Planet, The Hunt, ***Upstream Color***, Matar a un hombre, Holy Motors, Borgman, Tian zhu ding, ***The Babadook, It Follows, all of Ceylan’s***, Ex Machine, Force Majeure, ***all of Cesc Gay’s***, Spring, ***all of Lisandro Alonso’s, Loreak***, Der Samurai, Advantageous, ***Queen of Earth, The mend*** Elle, James White, The Lobster, Chevalier, The Fits, or***Leviathan***, to name a few

    This got too long, the motivation was ust to say

    #Hiiiiiii Shimky#

    I guess that I exaggerate too… there’s no contradiction 🙂

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