"Grant me the following in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like a leper rotting in flesh, let all avoid me. Like a cripple without limbs, let me not move freely. Remove my cheeks, tht tears may not roll down them. Crush my lips and tongue, that I may not sin with them. Pull out my nails, that I may not grasp nothing. Let my shoulders and back be bent, that I may carry nothing. Like a man with tumor in the head let me lack judgment. Ravage my body sworn to chastity leave me with no pride, and have me live in shame. Let no one pray for me. But only the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me."
A failed medical experiment turns a man of faith into a vampire.
There's this whole theory of horror that some people adhere closely to that the monsters and the violence should be kept off-screen. Park Chan-Wook throws that concept completely out the window and shows directly what he wants--and what he wants to show is pretty much anything he can think of. Leaving it to the actors and dialog to create subtlety, from a stylistic perspective Park seems willing to do just about anything to get his point across. Whether it's long involved ensemble scenes with the camera whizzing around a mah-jong table or entire weeks confined to a single shot between two other scenes, dialog from the scenes before and after bleeding over them, Park doesn't keep to a specifically structured style but focuses more on telling the entire story of a couple's relationship from virginal remove through utter codependence to utter self-annihilation--and uses vampirism as the link and priestliness as the drama. It's that simple, and that complex, at the same time.
You gotta give him credit. Too many people are ready to compare any modern vampire movie to Twilight, with Twilight almost always being the lesser of the works, but here the stories are actually comparable, but this one is more raw and honest. None of this sparkly coming in the window during the night to talk crap, but anything ranging from the dirtiest, most desperate and virginal sex scene to eventual spousal abuse as the two leads begin to vie for power over one another. It's the same deal--guy and girl meet, girl finds out guy is a vampire, decides to join him anyway, but with no happily ever after, just straight-up limited time as they become forced to keep each other closer and closer and run out of options. The girl's motivations are particularly interesting as one desperately craving power and attention, to a fault, foiled by the guy who just wants to live a good life as best he can under the circumstances, but is a hypocrite who cannot admit that he's merely using his vampirism as an excuse to act against his moral training.
The movie isn't perfect and it does tend to stretch (there's no three act, five act, or any act structure here, just scene after scene of character building and dysfunctional romance), but what's great about it is that Park Chan-Wook is willing to show everything frankly and honestly while delighting the horror sensibilities of tension and gore. He also provides an expertly chosen soundtrack to hit the emotional high-notes in a pretty effective way, too.