Coming soon to Netflix’s neverending collection of titles, Thai thriller Deep carries impressive script pedigree and a perfectly cast roster of quirky characters. It is a modern slice of fun, a foreign take on Flatliners that dives into an elusive and bizarre facet of human biology. How long can a person go without shut-eye? Jane (Panisara Rikulsurakan) and her four insomniac friends are about to find the answers when they join a simple case study called The Deep that pays big money…
An exclusive German pharmaceutical company is looking for volunteers for their new (and top secret!) drug research program. It centers on Queratonin, the opposite of sleep-aid melatonin, which is used to treat brain dead patients and is only released when awake. The higher the level of The Deep, the more concentrated the level of Queratonin becomes. There is just one big problem: you “can’t fall asleep ever!” In order to get paid, a microchip is implanted in the user to extract the chemical. If you fall asleep for more than sixty seconds while under this experiment, the chip can short out, stopping your heart. It turns out sleep deprivation has a scary level of side effects…
Jane and her friends all receive an equal level of definition and backstory. Though Jane is the lead, her narration fills in the blanks for all of those in her life. Jane and her grandma are behind on the mortgage; Jane’s younger sister is frustrated and annoyed that Jane won’t share her method of money-making; Cin (Supanaree Sutavijitvong) is a famous beauty blogger and local celebrity; Peach (Krit Jeerapattananuwong) is a gaming nerd with “thousands of friends in the virtual world,” but barely any in the real one; and Win (Kay Lertsittichai) is a semi-popular jock type on the basketball team.
Part of the reason I had so much fun watching Deep is thanks to Netflix’s absolutely ridiculous dub track, with dubbing that is both hammy and ridiculous. It doesn’t even make an attempt to match the dialogue to their lips, let alone being faithful to the line delivery or emotion behind each character. This bizarre choice creates a preposterous tone that pairs well against Deep’s dark story and sharp edges.
I am typically a stickler for watching a film in its originally intended language. That said, I love that Netflix offers so many of their foreign catalogue with the option of dubbing if you see fit. In this case, I would say it primarily served to enhance the experience, making it all the more entertaining. Cin tells Peach in one scene, “Hey dude, what’s wrong with you? I don’t have covid-19, I swear!” Another hilarious moment comes during a simple conversation between Win and Jane. She asks him what he does when he is not drinking. His response: “I drink some more!” He goes on a hilarious, drunken and stumbling speech about how much he loves alcohol.
As the level of The Deep progresses with Jane and company, the thrilling hijinks rise to a shrill crescendo. They make drug-infused mocktails to keep each other awake. They throw a pool party to bring up their level of Queratonin. Hallucinations and foggy states of mind come with the territory, and that was probably my favorite element of all in Deep. I could see a Western remake of this one doing very well. It has all the ingredients for an entertaining drama/thriller, and it is that Thai production with the injection of humor and energy that makes Deep so memorable.
Deep invites you to the first level of the Deep when it comes to Netflix on Friday, July 19th.