What is the story about?
Four medical students, Jane, Win, Cin and Peach, decide to become test subjects for a path-breaking drug, Qratonin, that prevents people from following asleep. For each stage of the trial, they are required to have a microchip embedded in their bodies that tracks their body activities. The lure of making money makes these four agree to the trial. But as they progress to each stage, they start hallucinating, and resort to desperate measures in order to stay awake. Will they survive 3 stages of the trial, or will time run out for them?
Ever since the lockdown began, most of us have experienced multiple sleepless nights while trying to work from home. The concept of forced insomnia as a plot point is something Netflix seems to have stumbled upon recently, with Awake, that released last month, and now Deep. The premise of the film is fantastic, and lends very well to a countdown-thriller, where the four protagonists must try and survive all 3 stages of the Deep trial, without dying. Perplexingly helmed by five directors and written by six writers, Deep works best when the focus is on the experiment and the extreme limits to which each protagonist goes in order to stay awake. However, the writers try to shoehorn in multiple elements, such as love stories between two pairs, subplots that don't go anywhere and a climax that would rival an Abbas-Mustan film in terms of sheer ridiculousness. Nevertheless, if these flaws are discounted, Deep is yet another reminder of how Thai cinema is coming up with unique, high-concept thrillers.
Panisara Rikulsurakan is decent as Jane, and is wonderful in her portrayal of desperation and worry. Kay Lertsittichai is terrific as Win, the self-confessed party animal who grieves on his own and falls in love with Jane. However, Supanaree Sutavijitvong and Krit Jeerapattananuwong are unfortunately saddled with ill-written characters in Cin and Peach, and their performances never rise above the material provided to them. Dujdao Vadhanapakorn is all right as Professor Nichcha, but Kim Waddoup is comical as Dr. Hans Miller, with a strange, halting German accent.
Music & Other Departments
Krittideach Gajangsri's camerawork and Neeranuch Anuwong's production design are decent.
The improptu party thrown by the four protagonists in order to keep themselves awake during the second stage of the trial is an impressive highlight.
The direction is amateurish in a few places. Instead of focussing wholly on the experiment, the film uses certain overdone tropes to take the story forward.
Also, the climax gets ridiculous after a point, in the makers' bid to raise the stakes for the four protagonists.
Did I enjoy it?
It's mildly engrossing in spite of its flaws.
Do I recommend it?
You can give this a watch if you want to see a thriller with a unique premise.