Today, we are going to explain a drama, fantasy, horror, and romance film called “Thirst.” Watch out for spoilers.
At a hospital, Sang-Hyun serves as a Catholic priest to provide ministry to the patients. Among the nurses at the hospital is Nurse Yu, who later goes into confession for having suicidal thoughts. Sang-Hyun advises her to pray more, as taking one’s own life is worse than murder.
Sang-Hyun is dedicated to his life of volunteering and serving the sick. With this, he decides to participate in an experiment for the cure of the Emmanuel Virus. The research director explains the side effects of the disease and asks Sang-Hyun questions about why he wants to volunteer.
Sang-Hyun eventually gets accepted and is immediately admitted to the lab quarters. Along with him are other volunteers who are willing to contribute to science and medicine.After being infected, he is examined as his condition worsens.
Blisters and rashes begin to appear in his skin, and his fingernails are coming off. He plays the flute to cure his boredom, and blood comes out of his mouth out of nowhere.
Sang-Hyun loses consciousness and is brought to the emergency room for immediate medical attention. There, blood transfusion is done to preserve his life, but he dies shortly after. The doctors announce his death, but they realize that he is still breathing as they are about to leave the room.
Six months later, Sang-Hyun is released after his rapid and unexpected recovery. News travels fast, and multiple people think that he has healing powers. They even flock around the research facility to ask Sang-Hyun to heal them, which is very new to him.
As Sang-Hyun is still in the process of recovery, he pays visits to Doctor Ku to monitor his health. Sang-Hyun tells the doctor about feeling nauseous and having heightened senses. However, Doctor Ku is confident that Sang-Hyun is free from the virus already.
Later that day, Father Roh congratulates Sang-Hyun for being the only survivor among the 50 volunteers. While Sang-Hyun is holding a fun event for children diagnosed with cancer, Mrs. Ra hurriedly approaches him. She begs Sang-Hyun to check on her son, Kang-woo, his childhood friend. He also meets Kang-woo’s wife, Tae-Ju, and they all talk about how life has been in their unlikely reunion.
After some days, the family invites Sang-Hyun to their home to celebrate Kang-woo’s “miraculous” recovery. Mrs. Ra offers him food, but Sang-Hyun gets to the ground after smelling a whiff of blood. Tae-Ju immediately runs to the bathroom, realizing that she is on her period.
Other guests arrive, and Kang-woo introduces Sang-Hyun to Young-do, his wife Evelyn, and Seung-dae. After they are all complete, they gather around the table to play a game of mahjong.
In the middle of the game, Kang-woo grabs Tae-Ju to make fun of her, and she falls in the process. Sang-Hyun offers to help her, but she gets up on her own. Filled with annoyance, Tae-Ju attempts to hit her husband, but she changes her mind after grabbing everyone’s attention.
That night, Sang-Hyun’s senses become out of control, making him hear, smell, and feel everything around him. He falls to the ground after he couldn’t take the unfamiliar feeling anymore, leaving him unconscious.
At daybreak, Sang-Hyun feels a burning sensation in his skin as sunlight enters his room. After realizing that he has to take cover, Sang-Hyun spends the whole day inside his closet.
Thirst for Blood
At the hospital, Nurse Yu informs Sang-Hyun about a patient losing an excessive amount of blood. He prays over the woman’s body while being distracted by her blood. Sang-Hyun can’t help but crave for it, causing him to stutter as he utters the final rites. While holding his hands together in prayer, Sang-Hyun abruptly licks the blood.
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Later that night, Sang-Hyun lies at an unconscious patient’s bedside to drink blood, giving in to his desires. After doing so, he notices that his face becomes clear from the rashes and blisters that were once evident. As guilt overtakes him, Sang-Hyun decides to jump out of the window in an attempt to take his own life. However, he is unsuccessful after surviving the drop.
Meanwhile, Tae-Ju stops her impulses to hurt Kang-woo by running around the neighborhood. She does this to distract herself from destructive thoughts toward her husband and to drain herself to sleep. As if nothing happened, Sang-Hyun walks around the town, where he sees Tae-Ju barefoot and in her sleeping gown.
She quickly runs away, but Sang-Hyun lifts her and gives her his shoes. Upon doing her favor, Sang-Hyun intently looks at her back, where he sees blood flowing through her veins.
With growing concerns about his situation, Sang-Hyun consults Father Roh about it. He lets him hold his heart through an incision in his chest, which seems nothing to him.
Sang-Hyun suspects that the vampire blood is the one that saved him from the virus and is the cause of his sinful desires. Despite that, the symptoms of the virus only go away when he drinks sufficient blood. As Sang-Hyun expresses his hardships, Father Roh cuts himself to extract blood from his system. He does this to spare Sang-Hyun from sin for the night—at least.
One night, Sang-Hyun visits Tae-Ju in their shop, where she replaces his shoe. At that moment, he is sure of his attraction toward the married woman, and they start to make love. After hearing that Sang-Hyun serves at the hospital on Sundays, Tae-Ju meets up with him to have an intimate moment once again.
Before they begin, Sang-Hyun tells Tae-Ju that their affair must end, as he does not want to wind up in hell. Although he clarifies that they are giving in to sin, Tae-Ju still wants to see him. While they make love, Sang-Hyun takes several bites of Tae-Ju, but she does not mind as it also satisfies her.
Shortly after, Sang-Hyun finally reveals what he really is to Tae-Ju, making her retreat in fear. He shows his true self by drinking one of the patients’ blood. To regain her trust, Sang-Hyun comes to Tae-ju’s house to persuade her into running away with him.
To his disappointment, Tae-Ju is still shocked about his true identity and declines his offer. After some time, Tae-Ju gets in contact with Sang-Hyun once again, curious to know more about vampires. Both of them meet and spend time together as Sang-Hyun shows off his skills and superhuman powers. Sang-Hyun then notices bruises on her and assumes that Kang-woo is the cause, which she sheepishly confirms.
Father Roh offers more of his blood back in the monastery, but Sang-Hyun respectfully declines the offer. For many years, Father Roh has been blind, and he requests Sang-Hyun to give him vampire blood so he could see again. In disgust, Sang-Hyun walks out of the room, claiming that he is no longer a priest.
In search of a new shelter, he decides to move into Mrs. Ra’s house, where he secretly beds her daughter-in-law. One night, Mrs. Ra leaves for the town and locks Tae-Ju with Kang-woo to assure that she won’t leave him while she’s away. To grab Sang-Hyun’s attention and ask for help, she stabs herself in the leg, igniting his sense of smell.
Thinking that Kang-woo is responsible for her wounds, Sang-Hyun immediately storms into their room. In there, he attempts to kill Kang-woo, but Tae-Ju begs him not to.
Instead, all three of them decide to go on a fishing trip, where Sang-Hyun and Tae-Ju debate killing Kang-woo. A knife is pointed at Kang-woo, making him realize his unfortunate fate. Sang-Hyun throws him out of the water, where Kang-woo fights for his life.
Before Sang-Hyun kills the poor man, he asks Tae-Ju one last time if that’s what she wants. Sure of her decision, she holds her husband’s life by a thread and orders the priest to kill Kang-woo. Not long after, the officials arrive at the scene, and the duo makes it look like an accident.
After the incident, Sang-Hyun comes to Father Roh to confess his sins, especially killing Kang-woo. As he grows weaker upon having the symptoms of the virus back, it leaves him no choice but to kill Father Roh. After he feeds on his superior’s blood, Sang-Hyun drives near the ocean to get rid of the corpse.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ra is more than devastated about her son’s death, spiraling her into alcoholism. As she fights her grief, it only leaves her feeling extreme emotions, and she is admitted to the hospital. Mrs. Ra recovers but ends up completely paralyzed.
Young-do has grown closer to Kang-woo’s family, so he tries to console Tae-Ju. In their meeting, Young-do tries to make a move on her, but she hesitates. However, she eventually gives in and decides to make love with her husband’s best friend.
To her surprise, she bumps into Sang-Hyun outside, and he sniffs her. With Young-do’s scent all around her body, it is enough evidence to create tension between Tae-Ju and Sang-Hyun.
Later that night, they celebrate Mrs. Ra’s birthday with a cake, making Tae-Ju sad as she never once had a party. Sang-Hyun calms her down and says that they will have a party on her birthday. As they embrace, Tae-Ju accidentally admits that Kang-woo never hurt her.
Rise of Vampire
The confession immediately puts Sang-Hyun in a state of rage because he only killed her husband to protect her. Their argument becomes more heated when they point fingers at each other for who caused Kang-woo’s death.
Mrs. Ra listens in horror, but her immobility makes her helpless. To make matters worse, visions of Kang-woo appear out of nowhere while they throw hurtful words at each other.
Tae-Ju eventually breaks into tears and sincerely asks Sang-Hyun to take her life. According to Tae-ju, she wants to be with Kang-woo once again, as he is the one who truly loved her.
Sang-Hyun obliges and snaps her neck but regrets it instantly. He realizes that he does not want to be alone and retrieves her life by feeding Tae-Ju his blood. After suspenseful minutes, Tae-Ju awakens as a vampire while Mrs. Ra witnesses everything in horror. Since then, both of them sleep during the day and awaken at night.
Unlike her past self, Tae-Ju has developed a new kind of vigor, as if she has been reborn. Because Mrs. Ra is still under her care, she continuously feeds her and provides her with basic necessities.
The following night, Sang-Hyun and Tae-Ju go to the station for a lie detector test. After passing the interview with flying colors, they go home separately to avoid any suspicion.
On her way home, Tae-Ju contacts one of the officials, asking about the interview. Little did he know, she has locked her eyes on him as a target. Tae-Ju stops his car and drags him into the woods, where she mercilessly feeds on his blood.
As Sang-Hyun and Tae-Ju meet, he realizes what she has done and reprimands her for killing carelessly. For Sang-Hyun, their source of blood should be from people who are vulnerable, recalling Nurse Yu dying willingly. Their exchange of words turns into another argument, and Sang-Hyun chases Tae-Ju across the neighborhood as they use their superhuman strength in a battle, the debate about what is ethical and what is not.
During the weekly mahjong game, they all get together for the first time after Kang-woo’s passing. Before the game ends, Mrs. Ra manages to communicate to Young-do, Seung-day, and Evelyn through the mahjong tiles and some eye movements. After several yes-or-no questions, Mrs. Ra makes it clear that Sang-Hyun and Tae-Ju teamed up to kill her son.
All three of them are taken aback by the revelation, leaving them speechless. As Seung-dae exits the room, Tae-Ju punches him so hard that he snaps his neck. It leaves Young-do and Evelyn running for their life along the deadly hallways that the duo painted white.
Tae-Ju kills Young-do by strangulation, just before Sang-Hyun could stop her. At this point, she is uncontrollable. In the living room, Evelyn is tied beside Mrs. Ra, and she manages to get a hold of a knife. Instead of escaping outside, she attempts to kill Tae-Ju by stabbing her in the chest. It is ineffective as she is an immortal, making her taunt and scare Evelyn.
Before she could plant another kill, Sang-Hyun reprimands Tae-Ju and leaves the poor lady be. However, Tae-Ju finds Sang-Hyun drinking Evelyn’s blood for himself. Sang-Hyun, Tae-Ju, and Mrs. Ra take a drive to flee from the crime scene after he persuades her to escape. They drive all night and arrive at a deserted place without any form of shelter except their car.
Meanwhile, Evelyn regains her consciousness unharmed; Sang-Hyun pretended to kill and drink her blood to protect her from Tae-Ju. Tae-Ju realizes that Sang-Hyun has tricked him into believing that they will escape to safety.
All along, he plans to die in each other’s arms as the sun rises. Although she has no means to save herself from ultimate death, Tae-Ju tries to hide in the trunk. Sang-Hyun gets rid of any alternative and throws the trunk cover into the ocean.
Eventually, Tae-Ju accepts their fate and sits with Sang-Hyun as they wait for the sunlight. With the bright light stretching from the horizon, the couple suffers a slow burn while Mrs. Ra watches in satisfaction from the backseat.
A conflict between good and evil is the central theme of the story. It lies between Sang-Hyun’s priesthood and his blood-thirsty self to make sound decisions. He tries to reason himself and justify his actions as a need more than a want with every kill. To him, his life of serving the sick and needy while being a priest can compensate for his sins.
Despite needing to kill and drink blood, Sang-Hyun has not entirely turned heartless, unlike Tae-Ju. In the end, Sang-Hyun has had enough of inflicting harm on others and brought judgment upon himself and Tae-Ju.