Earth is quietly invaded by a race of parasitic aliens that enter through the ears of humans and take over their brains, except for one that targets teenager Shinichi. Blocked by his headphones, the parasite ends up lodged in his right hand, and the two of them end up forced to work together if they want to survive against the hostile alien menace.
There is nobody in the world who does batshit crazy quite like the Japanese. And just so we’re clear, this is very much intended as a compliment. Adapted from a ten-volume manga series, the story sees the parasites use their hosts to feed off unsuspecting humans, leaving behind bloody, mangled and often decapitated corpses in their wake, while they also begin possessing influential people to slowly gain control of society. The film utterly revels in its savage depravity, the blackly humorous absurdity reminiscent of the unfettered insanity of Takashi Miike or Norboru Iguchi.
The core of the film is the developing relationship between Shinichi and Migi (his parasite, the Japanese word for “right”). Unheard of for the aliens, the two of them remain separate consciousnesses, and while some see them as an experiment to be observed, others take a more direct approach to the potential threat and regularly attempt to kill them. This is where the aliens’ fluid morphing abilities come in handy, as Migi is able to shape his makeshift limbs of Shinichi’s fingers into razor-sharp blades of flesh capable of dismembering with a single slice. Their growing symbiosis means that each begins to influence the other, with Shinichi slowly losing his sense of empathy and emotion, while Migi is forced to periodically sleep (which you just know is going to happen at the most inopportune moment).
As the film progresses the laughs begin to dry up as sympathetic characters are killed and callous scenes of wanton slaughter become the norm, and there are also some philosophical monologues about the human race’s destructive impact upon the planet and some existential rambling on the nature of identity. However, it never stops being a highly engaging and mesmerisingly violent thriller, and ends on a satisfying note that also leaves things well set for its second and final part to pick up.
INFO: PARASYTE (PART 1) / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: TAKASHI YAMAZAKI / SCREENPLAY: RYOTA KOSAWA, TAKASHI YAMAZAKI / STARRING: SHOTA SOMETANI, SADAO ABE, ERI FUKATSU, AI HASHIMOTO, MASAHIRO HIGASHIDE / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Expecting Rating: 8 out of 10