Hello again, ghosts and ghouls!
After watching MAN UNDERGROUND for Fantasia Film Festival, I was offered the opportunity to screen another film called PARASITES (yet another film that I decided to just wing it on, and I snagged it based on the name alone, no research whatsoever so I could go in blind with no judgment).
The film’s quick synopsis is as follows (according to the film’s IMDB page): “A group of friends get lost in the seedy streets where they encounter a crazed gang of derelicts that seizes them and one-by-one, horrifically kills all but one man. The surviving man escapes on foot, naked and unarmed, with a pack of depraved transients in pursuit, only seconds away from capture.”
With an opening that peaks your interest immediately and a soundtrack that throws off the tone from the very beginning of the film, I had no idea what to expect. To be honest, I thought that this film was going to be about literal parasites, in the vein of something along the lines of MIMIC or even THE BAY. I really could not have been more wrong, which was nice to an extent, because I was completely oblivious and had truly never seen a film with this type of synopsis before, but also not so nice because I really enjoy films about parasites (one of my biggest fears in the world).
PARASITES tells the story of Marshal (Sean Samuels) and his two friends, three college freshmen on their way home from a football game, when they realize that they’re lost and conveniently have run over a board covered in nails, causing a flat tire. A pretty decent amount of foreshadowing happens in the amount of time that they’re driving around lost, as the friends encounter what they call “bums” living on the sidwalks and running into the middle of the street, and the guys are constantly talking about how grossed out they are by the whole situation.
It was at this point that I thought the film was going to start to get weird. There was some truth to that, as two of the three college bros are murdered by a group of these “bums” that just happen to “own the streets”. The leader of this pack is Wilco (Robert Miano), a really powerful character with a short fuse and violent tendencies. Miano is awesome…probably the best part of the film.
Aside from Wilco, though, the film fell very flat for me. It was very one-dimensional, as it was Marshal, running from forgettable homeless people with no development to them whatsoever for an hour and a half. I genuinely thought that it could potentially turn into a revenge film where Marshal tries to avenge the deaths of his friends, however I was sadly mistaken when the story didn’t develop even a little bit past the scene of his friends’ deaths. The only thing we knew about Marshal was that he was a freshman at USC (I should have counted how many times he said it), and the only thing we knew about Wilco was that you just had to tell him you didn’t like how violent he was, and then he would violently gut you. So essentially, in retrospect, the only two characters that were developed weren’t actually developed at all.
I guess what was the most disappointing about the film for me was the lack of a resolution. The ending of the film pissed me off (it tried so hard to be controversial) but not in the way that the filmmakers intended…I was just really disappointed that their sentiment when filming this scene was “I’m going to piss the viewer off just because I can”.
All in all, do I believe this film could have a cult following? Definitely; I haven’t seen a film with a storyline similar to this one even a little bit. However, I do believe that the execution was a little bit lacking. All in all though, this film does deserve a watch. Just because it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea doesn’t mean someone else won’t enjoy it!
I hope you all take the time to watch some of the films from Fantasia Film Festival, I had a great time being able to screen the films that I did.