Friday, November 9, 2012

Deranged/Yeongasi (2012)

Infection movies are very hit or miss. Sometimes they're so over-the-top and unbelievable that they fizzle out right away. Too many infection movies turn into pseudo-zombie movies. Sometimes though, a movie gets it just right, with a story that could prove to be all too true.

Enter Deranged (Yeongasi), a 2012 Korean infection movie. The plot centers around an increasing number of corpses found in bodies of water, and we come to find out that they have been infected with a parasite that makes the host want to kill themselves in water. The story mainly follows one man, Jae-hyuk, and his fight against time to find a cure for his wife and two small children.

Like I said before, many infection movies are too out there or unbelievable. This may be the first infection movie I've personally seen with a pretty solid basis in science. The parasite at the heart of the infection is a mutated horsehair worm, which is a real parasite that affects grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects. They affect the nervous system and manipulate/control the host until they're ready to come out. Because they grow in water, they pump the insects with a cocktail of chemicals that makes them commit suicide by leaping into water. The parasites then swim away from their drowning hosts to continue their life cycle.

As for Deranged, the movie has a little bit of everything: action, massive government/pharmaceutical conspiracy, and tear-jerkiness. The characters are fleshed out nicely, and it's impossible to not feel desperate for Jae-hyuk and his family as he tries to move heaven and earth to save them. The sentimental moments might be a little too much so for some, but it works well within the overall story.

My only qualm is that everything is revealed fairly early on. The parasite is discovered before the halfway point and the conspiracy, while not explicitly stated right away, is really easy to spot. The gore is kept to a minimal, sans some scenes of water-logged corpses, and the CGI is negligible. Overall this is a seriously great horror/action/drama that deserves to be seen.

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