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by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 18, 2019

Park Chan-wook is the kind of filmmaker that can take genre conventions and breathe life into them. And in what may be his best film, "Thirst," it's like he's having a dialogue with the audience about how vampirism itself is prevalent in our daily life, even when it's not something as explicit as bloodsucking. Now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics label, the Korean director's affinity for the grotesque and depraved is rendered beautifully with a video presentation any cinephile will adore.

Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is a priest that volunteers to undergo test trials for a vaccine that will cure a terribly deadly virus that may eradicate much of the world's population. He survives the test trials because an accidental transfusion of vampire blood gives him the will and power to live. After that, he returns to Korea and is hired by Madame Ra (Kim Hae-sook) to heal her Cancer-stricken and dimwitted son. But when he falls in love with Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin), the son's beautiful but underappreciated wife, the two are set on a path of self-destruction.

If you've seen "Oldboy, "Lady Vengeance" or "The Handmaiden," you know that Park Chan-wook doesn't water down his intentions to be more palatable to a general audience. He has a proclivity for diving headfirst into the most depraved human behavior as they are dictated by our basest vices. Luckily, that dive is bolstered by thrilling filmmaking the likes of which we rarely see in the states. Great pleasure is taken in watching Sang-hyun and Tae-ju give in to their newfound vampirism and how it destroys not only the people around them but also their relationship in the process. Plus, watching the two is just a genuinely fun and funny time. The explicit sex sequences between the two leads are driven by an undercurrent of affection, but that even gives way to their overwhelming thirst for blood.

While there may not be much by way of special features on this new Blu-ray, there's a delightful audio commentary with author Bryan Reesman that's worth a listen. Reesman clearly is very interested in Park Chan-wook's interest in using the genre to study class concerns in Korea, and it's a pleasure to listen to a voice that clearly cares very deeply about "Thirst." Pick this new release by Kino Lorber up immediately. You won't regret it. Other special features include:

• Original Theatrical Trailer

Kino Lorber Blu-ray

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