Lesson learned: read the synopsis if you want to know about the film, do not rely solely on text on movie posters. This is the incident that lead me to assume that Park Jung-woo’s Deranged is a story of a serial killer (i associate it with Dexter just because i thought the perp. dump the body in the river, thus the tagline on the movie poster: the river become a new cemetary)
Jae-hyuk (Kim Myeong-min) is a former biochemist who lost everything after a failed investment encouraged by his brother, Jae-pil (Dong-wan Kim), a money-oriented beat cop. When a sudden virus outbreak swept the nation and taking millions of lives, Jae-hyuk own family was infected. While he struggle to found the cure, a discontinued vermicide from his own company, Jae-pil came across a horrific fact behind the epidemic through his investigation.
Deranged (Hangul: 연가시; Yeongasi), the second film i watched in Bandung chapter of 2013 Korean Film Festival, is more than just a creature-feature or virus outbreak horror/thriller feature film. It delivers the horror of the epidemic threat set it against the background of political conflicts of a nation under threats. Thank god for the lack of overtly graphic and repulsive scene, the film manage to capture the horror brought by these mutant parasites. As the people from the health department struggle to find a fix and solution to the terror, we can see how seniority affect the power distribution in the scene. Especially when quick decision must be made, the struggle to disregard humanity and put the need of the many ahead of the few seems to be occurring repetitively.
While at first i was reminded of that “Mother Nature is a serial killer” quote from World War Z (2013), apparently it does not apply in this situation, since its human meddling hand who sets the disaster in motion. The film disaster theme seems like a plot devise to show the incredibly horrific things us, human, is really capable of doing. This occurs in different part of the film and in form of a variety of events. The film is definitely smart because it does not rely on the expected medical disaster, but to the greater conspiracy that went behind it. But, with so many elements going on on screen, it partially looks sloppy and forced, which made some of the twists come rather expected and failed to catch the audience off guard. And with so that many things unravel at one go, there are only so much sympathy we can offer to the characters in the film. Such a shame, because emotional engagement would make the film went from good to better.
One of the thing i enjoyed from the film is actually seeing the dynamic of Jae-hyuk family. At the beginning of the film we can see that he’s under a lot of stressed from his job after taking an economic hit due to some kind of incident that involved his brother. The family seems like a typical middle class, live in an mediocre apartment, i can’t say they are financially challenged because they seem prosper enough. But the relationship of Jae-hyuk and his wife seemed strained at first. The children seemed a lot closer to the mothers as she was the provider of intimate affection, while the relationship with the father seems strained and distanced. As the father and the husband of the family it is his responsibility to be the sole breadwinner, when his wife suggest that she should find work he was angry by the suggestion. This is showing the divide of role between husbands and wives in a typical korean family. As the film progress the family is being forced to put themselves in a nontypical situation due to the crisis. Regrets arises, this might’ve sounded cliched, but i actually found it compelling instead. I guess i’m a sucker for this type of human drama in film.
What i found cliched is unfortunately the ending. I think it dumbed down the movie a bit and seems like a way to cut the duration of some sort. The pace toward the end was too quick and the solution almost over-simplified. That being said, Deranged offers a thrill from chase and a bit of hearts, definitely more than your mediocre cold or sappy disaster film. Despite its predictability and its flaws i still enjoy majority of the film. Solid entertainment!
Just FYI, I can not tell you how much things like these type of creature-feature creepy-crawlies thing bothers me, this is also why i could never watch Upstream Color (2012). If only i was not stuck in the middle of the back row yesterday, i’d definitely walked out of the theatre the moment they showed the parasites. *shivers*
DERANGED 연가시 (2012)
GENRE Thriller, Horror, Drama
DIRECTOR Park Jung-woo | PRODUCER Charles Park, Kim Song-o | WRITER Park Jung-woo | MUSIC Jo Yung-wook | CINEMATOGRAPHER Ki Se-hoon | EDITOR David Brenner | STUDIO Oz One Film | DISTRIBUTOR CJ Entertainment | COUNTRY South Korean | BUDGET ₩10 billion ($870,000) | RUNNING TIME 109 minutes | RATING NA| RELEASE July 5, 2012
STARRING Kim Myung-min, Moon Jung-hee, Kim Dong-wan, Lee Ha-nui
The film is part of 2013 Korean Film Festival Screening. Click on the banner bellow to view my other thoughts on the film featured in the festival :)