Starring Kang-ho Song and Ok-vin Kim
Directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy)
Rated R for graphic bloody violence, disturbing images, strong sexual content, nudity and language
Appropriate for ages 17+
Korean and English with English subtitles
When a selfless priest allows his body to be subject medical experiments to fight a deadly disease, he is given a transfusion from the blood of a vampire. While the blood saves his life, he must feed on more blood in order to keep the disease at bay.
Writer/Director Chan-wook Park has always created innovative ways of scaring and/or at least creeping out his audiences, and this new jump into the vampire genre fits into his portfolio well. He takes the parts of the legend he likes, and leaves the rest. Here the vampire can still be killed by the sun, can only drink blood, and can be turned by being exposed to the blood of another vampire. The biggest differences are ones that have never been argued with before (that I know of): you don’t grow fangs and you aren’t exactly impervious to death.
This new take on the genre, and this particular story, are so well thought out and incredibly written that you just know it will be remade into a big Hollywood blockbuster just as two of his other films, Old Boy (being directed by Steven Spielberg), and Lady Vengeance (starring Charlize Theron) will get the big budget treatment soon.
But just like his other films, this looks like a pretty decent budgeted film, sans the big stars. The effects are gruesome and over-the-top, yet beautiful at the same time. The overall production is top notch.
The actors are exceptional here as well. You might remember Kang-ho Song in the Korean monster film The Host, but he really shows off his chops here as a vampire whose morality keeps him from wanting to do things that his new body wants to partake in. After all, the vampire legend has always been one of not only blood, but of lust, and that is one area a priest cannot sit idly by.
One surprising attribute of this film is the amount of playfulness and hilarity it possesses. There are so many funny moments in this film that one might think the audience were watching a comedy if they were standing outside the theater listening in. Maybe it’s because there’s such a deep emotional connection, that the audible laughter comes both at intended moments and at uncomfortable moments as well.
Overall, I found this take on the vampire flick to be an original and entertaining picture that would make for a better date night than any other movie showing right now. A