Festival Film Review: One Deranged hour of my life that I will never get back

by Philip Gowman on 10 November, 2012

in Film reviews and comment | London Korean Film Festival | Park Jeong-woo

Sometime you go into a movie not knowing what to expect and come out feeling fulfilled. Sometimes you go into a movie with high expectations and come out feeling disappointed. If I find a movie dragging, I’ll usually give it a chance to pick up. But when I really can’t see that the film is headed anywhere worthwhile I’ll cut my losses and walk out. Life is too short to waste sitting in front of a mediocre movie.

Heading for the exit

Racing for the exit. No, not cinema-goers, but victims of the mutant worms heading for a drink

I’ve only ever walked out of two Korean films. Deranged is one of them.

What can one say about such an uninspiring creation? The movie has:

  • More excitement than Park Kwang-su’s Uprising
  • More mutant creatures than Shin Sang-ok’s Pulgasari
  • More people dying of thirst than Lee Young-ae’s debut feature Inshallah

But those are just about the only positive things you can say. Director Park Jeong-woo [1] respects all the disaster movie conventions without bringing anything new to the table. The film has more than the requisite number of screaming victims hurling themselves into the river, and moments of minor crisis that come so frequently as to lose their impact, but it probably has just about the right amount of pounding music to add some much-needed tension to the never ending shots of nameless officials making panicked phone calls in the disaster control room.

Another update call in the control room

Another update call in the control room. Tense.

But when the Korean prime minister offers a blank cheque to an evil drugs company on the basis of one poorly documented instance of their vermicide pills being effective against the killer worms you feel you are being taken advantage of. Yes, when you go into a movie you are prepared to suspend your disbelief. But the film maker has got to deliver something that it’s worth suspending your critical faculties for. And Deranged is just a second rate disaster movie that should have been released straight to video, or preferably never released at all. Maybe it got better towards the end. But I don’t care enough to want to find out.

Park Jeong-woo (박정우) Deranged (연가시, 2012) SterneSterneSterneSterneSterne

  1. Park’s previous films are Big Bang (2007) and Dance with the Wind (2004). [back]

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