Lost in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles long after dark, three college friends are set upon by a homeless gang when their car breaks down. When two friends are “accidentally” murdered, lone survivor Marshall (Sean Samuels) is forced to run for his life through the deserted, unwelcoming streets.
The longer you persevere with Chad Ferrin’s Parasites, the more evident the inherent issues become. Essentially nothing more than a stretched out chase movie, there is a fundamental lack of depth to the story and in the motives of the characters. Aggravated by what the college boys represent more than their actions, what begins as an intended robbery escalates quickly into a class-warfare inspired execution as the leader of the gang Wilco (Robert Miano) sees himself as a crusader. Spotting an opportunity to escape Marshall runs. And runs. And runs.
Ferrin is clearly a fan of John Carpenter, and while that is an admirable thing, he has proved that instilling a little of the great man’s motifs into your film doesn’t always turn out well. Escape From New York and, to a lesser extent, Big Trouble In Little China are referenced as if simply ticking a box was reverential enough. There are numerous running montages, all backed by a Carpenter-esque synth score, that fill out the running time and become wearily irritating all too quickly. Part of the problem is that Marshall never seems to be getting anywhere despite Parasites’ several hours passing. And as a limping, elderly Wilco is capable of keeping up with a fit, young college athlete, the film pushes the boundaries of believability just too far.
Another issue comes from the supposedly justifiable actions of the homeless gang. Parasites tries to establish them as “human beings”, people who through bad luck or circumstance have found themselves in their awful predicament. And yet how they behave, how they speak, even to each other, shows them as people who are thoroughly abhorrent, lacking in any positive human traits and wilfully feral. Even when members of the group do seem to find their conscience they are killed by Wilco himself in a fit of rage and dictatorial aggression.
Parasites really is a thoroughly unpleasant film filled with unsympathetic characters that are unworthy of your valuable viewing time. It is mean spirited, worryingly misguided in its premise and perhaps worst of all, tediously dull. Whatever else you might have heard, it is a film to be avoided.
PARASITES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: CHAD FERRIN / STARRING: SEAN SAMUELS, ROBERT MIANO, JOSEPH PILATO / RELEASE DATE: 24TH JANUARY (US); UK RELEASE TBA