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Monday, July 3, 2023

Disorder Review Mongolian Horror Movie Slyly Plays With Perception

Since Mongolia doesn’t often produce genre films, Disorder is a rare treat. Batdelger Byambasuren’s debut certainly comes across as horror in that first minute, seeing as it opens with a young woman trapped inside a burning room, screaming for help. The film then reveals the sequence was a mere nightmare. However, an external shot of the same character’s immediate environment, a foreboding and carceral school, ensures the audience that this is indeed a horror story. Of course Disorder has a tendency to toy with perceptions, even without its characters or viewers realizing that fact.

Schools are often used to illustrate critiques about government and society, especially in horror films from Asia. From Whispering Corridors to Detention, the school is a perfect setting for addressing and digesting bigger political and social concerns. To an unaware observer, Disorder is reproaching the elites who give their children an unfair advantage in life by buying them good education and opportunities that most others can’t afford. Enforcing that understandable assumption is this boarding school’s principal (Byambatsogt Dashnyam) selling his unique teaching method to prospective students’ parents and families. This institution works under the scientific belief that the brain functions at its fullest at night. Hence why all the students attend classes in the evening.


Away from all the business talk are said students taking yet another test. Their strict instructor, Tsezen (Oyundary Jamsranjav), conveys the sinister atmosphere of the school with only her severe appearance and a volley of snarled commands. As she butts heads with one disobedient pupil, the plot of Disorder becomes clearer. This class is working toward becoming lawyers. And if Garid (Bat-Erin Munkhbat) hopes to help his father get out of prison, he needs to ace the final exam. Studying the old-fashioned way isn’t going to cut it, so Garid and his two friends, and the student from the film’s opening, Enerel (Nomin-Erdene Ariunbyamba), devise a complicated cheating strategy. Their doing so only then leads to startling revelations about the school.

As the four main characters execute their plan, with plenty of setbacks to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, the film begins to lose grip of its horror setup. The suspense is definitely overwhelming, and Tsezen and her associates resemble oppressive villains, but exam fraud is not exactly scary. Something feels off about Disorder in that second act. Soon enough, though, everything starts to make sense as well as fall into place. The film takes a huge risk that not many viewers will have seen coming.

Disorder makes bold moves toward the end. Something this sizable could be detrimental elsewhere, yet here it makes for a more intriguing if not convoluted story. The audience could have easily turned on the film at this moment. Having said that, Byambasuren actually augments natural sympathies for these characters trapped in an unfortunate situation. The downside of this story disruption is that anything beyond it doesn’t measure up, and it doesn’t quite merit rewatch value. The real conclusion also proves to be a touch anticlimactic and rushed. Nevertheless, Disorder is an almost thoroughly exciting journey that will be best remembered for its unpredictability.

Disorder was screened during the 27th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN).

3 skulls out of 5


The post ‘Disorder’ Review – Mongolian Horror Movie Slyly Plays With Perception appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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