Any fan of Park Chan-Wook knows he has style. Old Boy has a wonderfully elaborate plot with a neat twist at the end but what really grabs is the direction. Every scene and shot shows a calculated style that impresses and makes familiar genres feel revitalised.
What would he do with horror? Vampire films are a sub-genre undergoing resurgence but still trading on the familiar tropes of eroticism. Thirst, instead, takes an unsentimental look into the life of a vampire. It is this that gives the film a strong identity as it explores themes of guilt and morality from the perspective of the vampire. There are none of the traditional vampire motifs or gothic atmosphere as this movie takes place in modern Seoul.
A devout priest, Sang-hyun (Song Kang-Ho) seems to be suffering a crisis of faith that affects him early on in the film. He seeks martyrdom to escape this crisis, leading to him to an experiment for a vaccine in Africa which could be near fatal.