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Thursday, January 12, 2017

PARASITES -- Movie Review by Porfle

We all know what happens when we get caught in the middle of Homeless Hell after dark--all the homeless people who hate us because we're better off than they are go nuts and start coming after us!  Anyway, that's what happens in PARASITES (2016) for about an hour and a half. 

We're supposed to feel like these three spoiled college brats in their shiny new van--quarterback Marshal (Sean Samuels), pretty boy Josef (Jeffrey Decker), and portly ginger Scott (Sebastian Fernandez)--are sorta asking for it when they cruise through streets lined with makeshift tents and mock their denizens right before a blowout puts them at the mercy of hostile homeless honcho Wilco (Robert Miano) and his violence-prone toadies. 

Wilco kills two of them in a fit of psycho-rage that shocks even his cohorts, but Marshal manages to get away.  This sets off a prolonged chase sequence that's sort of like THE NAKED PREY meets THE WARRIORS (if the Warriors were only one guy and all the other gangs were just a few homicidal hobos) and another movie whose name I can't remember about some other priveleged people getting stranded in hostile hobo territory after dark.

Naturally, there's a lot of running in PARASITES, much of it taking place in either the Los Angeles river or various alleys and deserted warehouse districts.  Several scenes are padded with shots of Marshal jogging down the street while songs like "House of the Rising Sun" play on the soundtrack for several minutes. 

Occasionally our hapless hoofer will encounter one of Wilco's guys and they'll have a desperate fight that ends with a bloody impalement or shovel to the skull (although not that much graphic violence is actually shown). 

He also meets some colorful characters such as Mona (Silvia Spross), a hooker with a heart of brass, and boisterous bum Wilde, played expansively by none other than George Romero regular Joe Pilato (DAY OF THE DEAD) with long, scraggly grey hair and full beard.  

Needless to say there's not a working cell phone in sight, and Marshal might as well be on Mars for all the signs of civilized life he encounters while searching for help.

The story's about as lean as they come, and director Chad Ferrin (THE GHOULS, EASTER BUNNY KILL! KILL!) struggles to keep things interesting enough for us to endure ninety minutes of artless spaz-cam and a cast that tends to emote like they're trying to scare away vampire bats.

As Marshal, Sean Samuels makes a likable enough hero, and Pilato, of course, is a hoot and a howl as Wilde. Robert Miano as Wilco is the closest thing to a well-known actor in the bunch--you'll no doubt recognize his often-seen face from such films as DONNIE BRASCO as well as more obscure titles like CONFESSIONS OF A PIT FIGHTER and THE SYSTEM WITHIN.  Here, he gets to ham it up to his heart's content and liven up even his duller scenes. 

Whether or not PARASITES holds your interest for its entire running time depends entirely on what kind of mood you happen to be in at the time.  It's pretty insubstantial despite a somewhat heavy ending (to tell what movie it calls to mind would be giving it away) and in no danger of being mistaken for a lost John Carpenter flick, but that shouldn't keep most people from enjoying it to a certain degree if they're slumming.

Debuts on VOD from 108 Media
Rent or Own on Digital HD January 24th

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