Friday, May 10, 2013

Film Review: Deranged (2012)

Deranged (Review)
South Korea/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Jae-hyuk (Kim Myung-min) is down on his luck, working a job far below his credentials due to a bad investment his brother recommended. Dead bodies mysteriously begin to surface in the Han River at alarming rates. The cause is a mutant variant of horsehair worms that controls the human mind and eventually disposes the host in a body of water; the symptoms are increased appetite without weight gain, and increased thirst. When Jae-hyuk family shows the symptoms, he races to find a cure in a city where everyone has a price.

Deranged is a ferociously paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller. It may even be frightening depending on your fears, of course. Jae-hyuk has become irritated due to his financial hardships, with his younger brother to blame. On top of that, his family becomes ill and the cure isn't available, unless he finds the source or buys it in the black market. But, in a city with thousands of infected, getting the cure proves to be a strenuous effort for Jae-hyuk. Meanwhile, the government attempts to find a cure, as well, but are held back by a greedy pharmaceutical company that holds the cure. Chaos erupts in the city, usually at night; survivors are left mourning the dead, including children crying for their parents, the following morning.

I like the story. Illness, especially terminal, is a terrifying subject, in my opinion, and viral outbreaks are truly anxiety-inducing; this story striked fear into my heart. I also enjoy how it implements a story of a specific character and his family that involves his quest for a cure, as well as a wide-picture story that involves the politics, greed, and deception. There are many race-against-the-clock scenes that contribute to the fast pace; also, there are many scenes where either Jae-hyuk or other officials have to stop hordes of infected from sprinting into bodies of water, in turn, killing themselves in the process - these scenes are dreadfully suspenseful and captivating.. Also, I enjoyed the explanation in this film, as most would leave it a complete mystery. The ending of this film is great - the last moments are very chilling.

The acting is superb. Kim Myung-min as Jae-hyuk is fantastic; his character changes and he shows a wide range of emotion, usually keeping it authentic and intact. Moon Jung-hee plays Gyung-seon and she really captures the deranged personality; she has the perfect facial expressions and emotion for the role, and I hope to see more from her in the future. The rest of the cast does an equally impressive job. The music is excellent in this film, significantly heightening the tension during some scenes. The film uses spectacular makeup effects on the dead bodied, which are usually view briefly - they are disturbing, nonetheless. The film is beautifully shot - particularly, a scene in a burning building locks superb. The direction, editing, and storytelling compliment each other creating a great experience. The South Korean Blu-ray (Region A) is a high-quality single disc digipak with a great slipcover. The picture and sound quality are superb. This version only has English subtitles, no English dub. Unfortunately, the special features do not have subtitles.

Overall, Deranged is an intense epidemic thriller with effective horror elements. The story is captivating and highly entertaining, and the fast pace makes this film feel like its over before it starts. I highly recommend a purchase.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence, disturbing imagery.

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