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Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies, but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh. Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
Not for the squeamish, but the number of twists, inventive uses of situations using vampire mythology, gorgeous visual extremes, together with interesting and quirky characters make this one of the most stunning horror films I've ever seen. It descends into utter madness along with characters, but never seems exploitative or horrific without purpose. There are copious amounts of bloodletting accompanied by some nasty sucking and squishing sounds, but also subtle moments where you laugh out loud. As he tends to do, Chan-wook Park keeps you off center with leaps in time and plot and situation that you have to fill in for yourself forcing your involvement in the story and characters.
And there's a lot of literal leaping. Keeping in the vein of vampire myth (pun intended), they have superhuman strength and can nearly leap tall buildings in a single bound (to coin a phrase). The first time our heroine is carried by the across the tops of buildings by the troubled vampire priest, it has all the magical romance of Lois Lane and Superman - but this romance becomes increasingly disturbing - but driven by a strange and conflicted 'love affair' not by mere horror.
The acting is superb, particularly OK-vin Kim, the gorgeous actress in the female lead role who, at 22, shows a range that is remarkable. The character borders on a kind of black widow film noir type. She careens from innocent to impish to vixen to demon with utter conviction. This is a really smooth and nervy performance.
If you love real art in horror, or are a fan of Oldboy - don't wait for the video, see it immediately.
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