Directed by: Charles Band
Writing credits: Michael Shoob, Alan J. Adler, Frank Levering
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Plot: Dr. Paul Dean is a scientist creating a deadly new parasite for the government. When he learns of the government's intentions, he destroys all the parasites and flees. During his escape, he is infected by one of the parasites, and so he holes up in a small town in the hopes of using the one remaining parasite to engineer a cure. Meanwhile, an agent is sent to collect the parasite and eliminate the traitorous doctor.
Review: At first, this movie was billed as the ďfirst futuristic monster movie in 3DĒ, but after 3D started to fall out of favor, it started up a new tagline, ďDemi Moore in her first starring roleĒ. Even more amusing, since the DVD doesnít include the 3D footage, the cover features a shot of the young Ms. Moore, in place of ď3DĒ repeated ad infinitum.
The problem is that the movie was still very much about the 3D aspect. Initially, I didnít even realize this was the case, although it did seem odd that there were a lot of things flying at the camera, couple with seemingly inconsequential shots of things very close to the camera. Personally, Iíve never seen (metaphorically speaking) what the big deal is about 3D movies. Parasite in particular showcases a number of cheesy shots of things lunging at the camera for a cheap scare, including an amusing fight scene towards the beginning of the film that is shot entirely in slow motion. And movies built around something like that typically suffer for it.
In the case of Parasite, the 3D elements are included to distract the viewer from everything thatís wrong with the film, not the least of which was the acting. Demi Moore comes across as a little too emotional, even for a movie about a killer parasite devouring people left and right, and the guy playing the main character, a scientist infected with a weaker version of the parasite, comes across as having taken one too many valiums before filming. The worst example, however, is the main villain, Wolf. At first, he exudes superficial friendliness as part of his role as a sort of government cleaner hoping to retrieve the parasite. But soon, someone pisses him off. When heís pissed off, acting is replaced by aggravated shouting, angry snarling, and silly one-liners that seem all the more comical when juxtaposed with his propensity for brutish violence.
Another issue is the filmís setting. Plot summaries claim that the film takes place in the future (in the far off year of 1992), but we are shown very little to support that. Here and there, we get a few awkward bits of exposition that allude to ďatomic shitĒ screwing up things in New York, along with some evil corporation working with the government, but you never really get the impression that any of this is happening in the future. The only real indication that this is the future is that the bad guy wields a laser that looks a lot like a big pen. Also, he drives around a black Lamborghini that makes some odd engine noise. Then again, maybe it makes that noise because he keeps trying to drive off-road.
The special effects arenít too bad, putting aside the number of effects devoted to cheesy 3D shots. The parasite itself looks okay, but not great. As it consumes more people, it changes from looking like a slimy horseshoe crab to a giant fluke with teeth. They even rigged up some interesting blood and gore effects near the end of the film, but for the most part, the parasite just sits there, soaking up nutrients from some poor sap.
That alone was the recurring theme of the film: peopleís inability to keep track of this languid parasite. After the first kill, the parasite moves from one person to another because no one is waiting for it to do so. Iíll give them the first time because maybe they werenít expecting the thing to move around too much after a big meal, but once it sneaks off and nabs someone else, donít you at least try to keep track of the thing?
Iíve seen worse horror movies than Parasite, but Iíve seen a lot of better ones, too. The movie starts out with a couple long scenes that donít seem to have any real bearing on the rest of the movie, except that they set up a few 3D shots. I have to assume the movie is better in 3D because things like that actually accomplish something, but even so, thereís a lot in this movie that couldíve easily been edited out.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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