PARASITES *** U.S.A. 2016 Dir: Chad Ferrin 80 mins
Driving through a really rough part of town in their big, expensive, shiny truck 3 college friends end up lost and travelling deeper and deeper into unchartered tent city territory. They get a puncture and on getting out to fix it are descended upon by a large gang of hobos who threaten, beat and kill all 3 of them. Well, so they think anyway but one of them, Marshall (Sean Samuels) survives and makes a break for it stark bollock naked through the streets pursued by head hobo Wilco (Robert Miano) and his gang of blood thirsty, murderous bums most of which seem to be named after the weapons they brandish (Spade, Chains etc). Marshall spends the rest of the night fighting off bums, witnessing cruel situations of abandonment and domestic abuse and endlessly running around trying to find someone in authority to report the murder of his friends to.
The acting is great from pretty much everyone involved especially Robert Miano’s (Donnie Brasco) portrayal of Wilco as the foul mouthed, bloody minded, raging homeless overlord. Sean Samuels doesn’t falter in his role of Marshall and there is a brief appearance from Joe Pilato as a ranting, drunken War Veteran now living on the streets. That being said I found the many running scenes arduous and unnecessary. The continuity of these scenes seemed way off a lot of the time. A brief example of this is a scene where Marshall is being chased by a really annoying screaming chain wielding assailant. On the long shot Marshall is easily way ahead of him but they cut to a close up and chain hobo is right behind him, cut away again and he is way behind again. They did this quite a lot, I am assuming to create tension and suspense but it seemed to only make it flat and quite frankly it did the exact opposite and just annoyed me quite a lot.
The very effective John Carpenter inspired soundtrack adds some great darkness and atmosphere throughout so hats off to Matt Olivo for that. The same cannot be said for the versions of American Folk classics “House Of The Rising Sun” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” sung by Miano and Samuels, nothing wrong with their singing but I wasn’t really feeling it and felt they were badly placed within the film as in not the best backtracks to endless running montages.
The ending is very Romero-esque in its bleakness though and the SPFX are perfectly reasonable with some good slicing and impaling effects. I really like the idea of this and for the most part enjoyed it but found the drawn out chase scenes let it down a lot.
Review by Sarah Budd