Studio: MTI Home Video
Director: Neil Jones
Writer: Oscar Carrion, Marcia Do Vales
Producer: Marcia Do Vales, Keven Kane
Stars: Marcia Do Vales, Craig Fairbrass, Victoria Broom, Natalia Celino, Tabitha Quitman, Pablo Olewski
Four friends staging a private bachelorette party at a secluded villa find themselves stalked by a mysterious figure.
Conceding the benefit of the doubt, it is entirely possible that Marcia Do Vales is a talented actress when performing in her native tongue. Whatever that language is, it is not English, which makes a large part of the “Deranged” viewing experience a demanding exercise in deciphering her thick-accented dialogue.
Make no mistake. As the movie’s top-billed actress, co-producer, and originator of the story, “Deranged” is most definitely intended to be a vehicle for Ms. Do Vales from start to finish. That star turn goal is also at odds with what the movie can accomplish creatively. With that vanity extending to the lone image of Do Vales on the box cover and an opening montage showcasing her as the centerpiece, “Deranged” reveals its hand to the table before any other cards are even dealt.
Four somewhat-estranged college friends gather at a remote Spanish villa for a low-key bachelorette party celebrating Gabriella’s upcoming wedding to Michael, a friend they all share in common. Being a secluded cabin miles from civilization and without cellphone reception, the location naturally invites a shadowy figure to stalk the premises and begin terrorizing the women one at a time. But it is when their stalker’s true identity is revealed that things take an unexpected turn.
Or rather, things would have taken an unexpected turn, had the spoiler-heavy poster art and first scene of the movie not already given away the twist. When Gabriella drops dead at the 30-minute mark, which is also how long it takes for something to finally happen in a movie that is just 74 minutes, the audience already knows that things are not as they seem and it is only a matter of time before Gabriella rises to exact her demented revenge.
Joining Marcia Do Vales in the cacophony of difficult to understand voices is a melting pot of actors and actresses whose accents include British, Scottish, Welsh, Spanish, and Brazilian. Do Vales trumps everyone in the “what’d she say?” department while the others require only a modest amount of effort to sift through their sounds. At least the voices keep the viewer engaged as an active participant in the game of paying attention. Though there is still the possibility of feeling like a senior citizen while reaching for the volume control and contemplating turning on English subtitles for a movie that already is in English, or something vaguely like it.
The acting only has so far it can go. Roles are limited to a foursome of stereotyped personalities too disparate to ever be friends in real life. There is the church-going prude who wears glasses, the promiscuous vixen constantly in party mode, and the average in-betweener who balances everyone out. In case those character assignments are ever unclear, the script is there to hammer them home repeatedly. The sexpot, for example, cannot go one scene without talking about joining the mile high club, teasing the virgin, inquiring about everyone else’s sex life, or comparing box springs to those of other beds she has banged in. Ok, I get it. She’s a slut, can we move on?
It’s a shame that what little “Deranged” has in content undermines a fairly accomplished technical production. Set design is polished. Cinematography looks good. Yet with that gaping hole of an out in the open revelation, the movie never offers a true idea of what it might have delivered had its secret been properly kept under wraps. It does seem like there was potential for a clever surprise that might have gone to a more entertaining place had the elements that went into bringing the picture together been handled tactfully.
Somewhere in the architecture of “Deranged” was a worthwhile concept for a thriller. It may have needed another helping hand from a dark streak of black comedy, but a cleaner execution, a sleeker script, and an intelligible lead could have made all the difference in making “Deranged” better than it is.
Review Score: 50