Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways.


Chan-wook Park (as Park Chan-wook)


Émile Zola (inspired by "Thérèse Raquin"), Chan-wook Park (screenplay by) (as Park Chan-wook) | 1 more credit »
17 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kang-ho Song ... Sang-hyun (as Song Kang-ho)
Hee-jin Choi Hee-jin Choi ... Nurse Sa
Dong-soo Seo Dong-soo Seo ... Hyo-sung
Hwa-ryong Lee Hwa-ryong Lee ... Doctor Ku
Mi-ran Ra ... Nurse Yu
In-hwan Park ... Priest Roh (as Park In-hwan)
Eriq Ebouaney ... Emmanuel Research Director (as Eriq Ebouney)
Thati Pele Thati Pele ... Emmanuel Research Nun (as Onthatile Peele)
Jong-ryol Choi Jong-ryol Choi ... Grandfather
Yong-wan Goo Yong-wan Goo ... Devotee
Hwang Woo-seul-hye ... Whistle Girl
Kim Hae-sook ... Mrs. Ra
Shin Ha-kyun ... Kang-woo
Kim Ok-bin ... Tae-ju (as Kim Ok-vin)
Dal-su Oh ... Young-du (as Oh Dal-su)


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lusting after sinful pleasures.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic bloody violence, disturbing images, strong sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The movie borrows many elements from Émile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin. Tae-ju is named after Thérèse and Lady Ra is named after Madame Raquin. See more »


Priest Sang-hyeon: I don't kill anyone, you know. Hoy-sung... He loved helping the hungry. He'd offer me his blood if he wasn't in a coma. If you only heard the sponge cake story.
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Alternate Versions

On the South Korean and French Blu-ray editions, there is a director's cut featuring 13 minutes of new footage, including extended versions of many scenes. See more »


Ich habe genug
(Cantata BWV 82)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

A heretic genre piece from Park Chan-wook
3 June 2015 | by lasttimeisawSee all my reviews

A vampire love story loosely based on Émile Zola's THERESE RAQUIN, Chan-wook Park's THIRST (its original Korean title literally means: bat) is a blood-soaked psychological thriller about a Catholic priest Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), after experiencing a death-defying recovery owing to an undisclosed blood transfusion during his volunteer mission to find a vaccine for a deadly virus, he becomes the only survivor among all the infected, which attracts many devotees to worship him as a miracle from God. But the reality is that a craving for human blood has been commenced after the incident, the virus is still plaguing him, his skin is afflicted with blisters, only human blood can prohibit the symptoms and turn him into a nighttime creature endowed with all its well-established trappings like self- recovery, human-exceeding agility and strength.

So he becomes a vampire priest, battles his thirst for blood and sexual lust aroused by his metamorphosis, and also, it is a game-changer for his devout faith. He is reunited with his childhood friend Kang-woo (Shin), who is diagnosed with cancer, and his mother Lady Ra (Kim Hae-suk). But it is Tae-ju (Kim OK-bin), Kang-woo's wife, who is an orphan raised in the household, en-kindles Sang-hyun's repressed desire, deeply affected by Tae-ju's wretched story of being abused by both Kang-woo and Lady Ra, he ventures into a sexual relationship with her, eventually leads to a premeditated murder, afterwards, both plagued by guilt and haunted by the dead, their rapport internally disrupts when Sang-hyun finds out Tae-ju's ulterior motive, after a violent commotion, Tae-ju has been brought back to life as a vampire. The rest of the story can be viewed as a doomed romance driven by the incongruous nature between a man and a woman who may or may not love him.

The film harvests a Jury Prize in Cannes 2009, a massive domestic box-office champion too, it highly encapsulates Park Chan-wook's stylishness of drenching gore with nimble camera-movement and lurid colour scheme, paves the way for his next step into mainstream Hollywood with big star vehicle STOKER (2013). Notably, it also inquires into one's utmost challenge to his religious belief, Sang-hyun is as much as tormented by the ascetic canons of Catholicism as his sexual impulse and blood-thirst after the infection, until the final abandonment of his saintly embodiment before he meets the crucifixion.

Song Kang-ho, the most bankable film star in South Korea, diverts from his regular kind guy persona, embraces his fatalistic destruction with compassionate commitment, flares up with retro sheen under Chan-wook's slick versatility either in CGI-embroidered sequences or the claustrophobic settings where blood is running amok. Kim OK-bin, a newcomer then, triumphantly trumps all the veterans in her stunning depiction of Tae-ju's conflicted personalities and raw seduction, both actors also bravely engage in stark nude scenes which are still not common to be seen on the mainstream territory. Kim Hae-suk, as Lady Ra, achieves a different kind of thrill using only her eyeballs to dictate the most compelling set piece of suspense, and remains as the most uncertain variable up until the very end, indeed, all three performances are mind-blowing in this heretic genre piece, and Park Chan- wook is destined to continue his streak as an iconoclast condemning the morbid society by spiking bloodshed into violence and sex in a more global scope.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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South Korea | USA


Korean | English | French

Release Date:

30 April 2009 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Thirst See more »

Filming Locations:

Seoul, South Korea


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,889, 2 August 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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