Let’s cut to the chase: Chad Ferrin’s “Parasites” is easily one of the best movies of 2017. It’s culturally relevant, very creepy, compelling, gritty, and packs a punch of a climax that is both incredibly evocative and promises to keep audiences debating for days. Set in Los Angeles, three college friends are on the way home accidentally find themselves stranded in skid row. While there, they become victims to the predatory Wilco, a vicious and violent homeless man who leads a massive army of wayward individuals. After terrorizing the trio of youths, events spiral out of control prompting Wilco to scramble to conceal his crimes. When character Marshal survives out of pure chance, he flees for his life, prompting Wilco and his army to track him down and hunt him in the middle of the city. Now Marshal has to fight for survival, and look for help.
Director Chad Ferrin channels the likes of directors like John Carpenter, and George Romero offering a ton of tributes to both directors in the way of themes and tidbits in major plot turns. Thankfully, “Parasites” manages to stand on its own, though, presenting a very war torn Los Angeles engulfed in major class warfare and human cruelty that is not at all a world apart from our own. In the scenes leading in to the central plot one character is murdered with an Obama “Hope” tee shirt on. Director Chad Ferrin doesn’t just opt for open social commentary, but he makes some very subtle explorations of how absolutely cruel out system has become. Every character garners some twisted form of ideology that is based very much on their mission of self preservation in a world that threatens to destroy them.
There are no real heroes and villains, especially when writer Ferrin subtly delves in to every character‘s back story asking to garner some sense of understanding for even the worst of the principal characters. Director Ferrin derives top notch performances from the entire cast, including Sean Samuels. As character Marshal, he’s forced to go through hell and back to find some semblance of civilization as he struggles to fight his way out of the underbelly of LA. Meanwhile, Robert Miano is often incredible as antagonist Wilco, an often enigmatic violent entity in the film who poses the perfect threat to Marshal. He has no background, no logical motives for his actions, and is absolutely relentless in his pursuit of young Marshal throughout, for reasons only he can truly understand.
“Parasites” has a low tech aesthetic that helps add a stark realism to much of the events that unfold. The way Ferrin lenses and films Los Angeles makes it a nightmarish abyss of faceless and blank landscapes with no actual humanity present. Director Ferrin offers up a Los Angeles completely destroyed by the current political and social climate, and sadly doesn’t seem too optimistic about what the future will hold for the further widening gap of class, race, and gentrification. Chad Ferrin’s “Parasites” is an absolutely superb horror thriller whose simplicity and grindhouse thrills belies a very rich commentary about the horrific class and race warfare, and how it’s probably going to get much worse before it gets much better.
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