Damn - nearly halfway done with the month and I'm only on move #3? That's pathetic. I blame Blockbuster.com for moving my distribution center so far away. I could watch more movies if they showed up quicker. Anyway, I hadn't seen any Asian horror for ages and I was really looking forward to Korean (English subtitles) Thirst. The plot: Sang-hyeon, a young Catholic priest who is frustrated by all his flock (patients at a hospital) dying, decides to volunteer for a highly risky (like, no one has survived yet) medical experiment, trying to find a cure for a nasty disease. He gets really, really sick (boils and pustules all over, puking up blood) but is amazingly cured after a transfusion. Cured, except that he blisters and burns in the sunlight and if he doesn't drink blood on a regular basis, the nasty disease comes back. Being a priest, he doesn't want to kill anybody for their blood so he sips from coma patients' IV lines - no one ever knows.
Everyone thinks he's a miracle for surviving the experiment and they want him to heal them. A pushy lady convinces him to visit her cancer-ridden son Kang-woo, who, it turns out, knew Sang-hyeon when they were boys. Kang-woo gets better (it's never really clear if he actually had cancer and is in remission or if he's just a hypochondriac) and Sang-hyeon is invited home with them, to play mah jongg with their little clique of grotesques. Creepy, idiotic Kang-woo is married to Tae-ju, who was an indentured servant in the home when she was a little girl. Now she is pretty, repressed and somewhat feral, hating her idiot husband. She and Sang-hyeon begin an affair - he reluctantly at first, finding it difficult to cast off his long-held priestly beliefs - and she sees him as a way out of her dreary life, even after he confesses to being a vampire. She gets prettier and more confident as the affair continues, but she also turns on the crazy, cutting herself and telling Sang-hyeon that Kang-woo did it, so her lover will kill her husband.
After they kill Kang-woo it gets weirder - they are both haunted by visions of the dead man - and they are unhappy and stressed. In a fit of passion, Sang-hyeon snaps Tae-ju's neck ... and then feeds her his blood to save her life. Now that she's a vampire herself, the crazy really kicks into high gear (and she has no compunction about killing her feeds) and Sang-hyeon is forced to deal with what they've become.
Thirst is a lovely, visually-interesting film but it's about a half hour too long, is pretty weird and is not really very scary at all. Sure, there are some bloody moments but they're fairly artful. It's actually more of a twisted love story than a horror movie - not at all what I was expecting. I liked it but didn't love it, and really wished it was shorter (never a good sign).
Next up: was supposed to be The Hunger with Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie, but that seems like it might be too languorous and affected. So I'll have to shuffle things around. It'll be a surprise!
9 hours ago