Available on VOD on January 24th is the new horror thriller Parasites, about a violent homeless gang that is hunting down a college freshman in the middle of the night. It is a surprisingly socially relevant piece of cinema that is a primal and brutal battle occurring within a decayed urban setting, calling inspiration from the historical event referred to as Jon Colter’s run. At the same time, it is also reminiscent of the gang film The Warriors except flipped into a much darker and grittier twist on the concept of being chased by a gang and trying to survive the night. Like a real parasite that lives within your body, this will eat away at you’re insides well after you’ve finished watching it.
The story is pretty simple and is paced well. As with other movies where people are being chased, things move fast and we don’t really get a great deal of information about the various characters involved. The motivation of the homeless gang is only hinted at by one unrelated incident that takes place, other than that they are treated as a group of deranged and violent people. There are themes of class, race, social standing, homelessness, and harsh conditions in Los Angeles that are commented on and have social relevance in the current times. Certain aspects of the social commentary in this did remind me of the original Night of the Living Dead, minus the zombies.
The cinematography matches up with the brutal and visceral nature of the tale being told, it is dark and almost voyeuristic at times. The lighting appears to simply be the natural street lights of the city, adding a level or realism and bleakness to the visuals. There is nothing overly spectacular about the imagery that is brought before the viewer, but that only helps add to the tone. Aiding in this is the location settings, which act as another actor on the set. The concrete jungle of sewers, viaducts, dilapidated and uninhabited buildings, dirty alleys and streets only further add to the sense of dread and lack of safety.
The performances from the cast are excellent, especially Sean Samuels as the lead and Robert Miano as the main baddie. Samuels has to be commended for putting himself out there as he did, pulling together a superb physical and emotional performance. The score was a nice blend of synth and some rock music. The interesting aspect of the music was that there were several well known songs sung by a couple of the actors, which added another layer of depth and tension to this.
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It is gore filled and the body count is high. This may be what most fans come to see, but it won’t be what they remember in the end. Instead they’ll be left feeling uncomfortable and with a bad taste in their mouth, as Parasites will absolutely punch you in the gut with its violent realism.
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