Director: Park Jeong-woo
Starring: Kim Myung-min, Moon Jung-hee, Kim Dong-wan, Lee Ha-hui
When dozens of skeletal human remains are found in a river, the nation is in a panic. What is discovered to be the cause is a mutated Hairworm parasite, a parasite infamous for it’s process of living inside insects’ central nervous systems until gestation, whereupon it causes its host, though manipulation of the brain, to search out water, ultimately drowning them and releasing the matured worms. When Jae-hyeok’s (Kim Myeong-min) family is infected and quarantined with other victims, he begins a desperate struggle to save his family by searching for a cure and in the process discovers the exact nature of the parasite.
Told from numerous fronts; Jae-hyeok’s search for medicine, his brother Jae-pil (Kim Dong-wan) a police officer searching for the black market dealers of a purported cure, Yeon-ju (Honey Lee) a doctor fighting with bureaucracy on behalf of the victims, and the wife of Jae-hyeok, Kyeong-soon (Moon Jeong-hee) who finds herself locked up with her children while fighting the increasing madness caused by the parasite. This intimate depiction of a small group really adds a personal emotional nuance to the film and gives the viewer an easy sympathetic compass.
Interspersing these scenes with scenes of great panic and some shocking deaths, adds to the feeling of nation panic and terror. The fact that the film is almost entirely serious is a plus, and the subject matter in the film is firmly kept in the realm of the plausible. I wholeheartedly imagine that whole crowds of Koreans are rethinking revisiting bodies of water, similarly to how Americans avoided beaches after Jaws. It’s a film that will make you rethink vacationing plans.
The acting is solid with Kim Myeong-min certainly being the anchor of the film. His depiction of the increasingly desperate Jae-Hyeok is both heartbreaking and maddening at times since he seems to fight so hard for his family with little to no payoff because of the madness that has gripped the nation. Moon Jeong-hee is also quite good as his wife who is trapped alongside their children in the quarantine area. Her increasing unstable mental state is at odds with her maternal instinct to protect her family and she does an excellent job in her role. Kim Dong-wan and Honey Lee also turn in solid performances which are interesting since despite a few scenes where they are together, each actor commands his or her scenes quite well.
Production value is quite high and gloomily shot, understandable considering the dark nature of the picture. Huge casts of extras trounce around on screen with reckless abandon and the general feeling of panic and terror is ever present and ominous. There are only a few examples of special effects and they are done very well. Indeed, those moments are among the most memorable, simply because of the time of use *shudder*. Music is generally pretty well done, with the music reminding me of John Powell’s work on the Jason Bourne series of films.
Deranged is a solid, well paced and entertaining motion picture. The actors do a great job of keeping the panic and tension at the fore and the massive scenes of death are both shocking and heart breaking. Filled with social commentary, not only is Deranged a hell of an engaging flick, but also quite ingenious in it’s depiction of greed and the lengths of human nature. Deranged is a good thriller and I believe that there is a lot to like for many viewers. Check it out.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: Contagion, The Host, Sinking of Japan.