Thirst, Park Chon-wook, 133 mins (18)

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The Independent Culture

Like the Swedish curio Let the Right One In, Park Chan-Wook's take on the vampire thriller heads off in weird and quite unexpected directions.

When a young priest (Song Kang-ho) volunteers for a vaccine experiment, he receives a blood transfusion that turns him into a vampire; working in a hospital allows him to siphon off the blood supply from coma victims. Creeped out yet? Thirsting after "sinful pleasures" the priest then begins an affair with the put-upon wife (Kim Ok-vin) of an old schoolfriend, in a development that seems to nod to Zola's tale of adultery Therese Raquin. Park Chan-Wook constantly tests the limits of acceptability – you may recall the live squid-eating moments from his Oldboy – though he's developing a kind of philosophical slapstick that's very funny. The final sequence is a comic miniature worthy of Laurel and Hardy, yet suffused with a tragic grandeur. The film is way too long, and quite sick, though Park's demented lyricism will stay with you.

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