Written and directed by Tim Martin
Tim Martin is special effect wiz whose work has been seen in such films as Hellboy, Alien vs. Predator, and the premake of The Thing. The man definitely knows his stuff because his writing-directing debut Parasitic looks like it was made for next to nothing yet boasts better practical special effects and make-up work than many movies with considerably higher budgets. A pity those icky, slimy, wormy monster effects are the only redeeming thing the movie has going for it. It’s quite sad how polished the practical effects are and how amateurish everything else is.
The movie opens with something from outer space plopping into the ocean. Whatever it was has infected some fish; sushi made from this fish is eaten by Val, the surly manager of an underground Goth nightclub. Shutting down for the evening (morning?), indigestion sends her rushing to the potty. Her stomach pains are such she cannot help but rip her top off.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that happen to me. One moment I’m rushing to the bathroom with stomach cramps and the next I’m tearing my shirt off like Hulk Hogan.
One thing Parasitic has plenty of is T&A. Not necessarily the T&A you’re thinking of - there is a good deal of tits & ass, I can assure you. The T&A I’m talking about describes the two categories all of the characters fall into. Every single one of them is either a twit or an asshole. Some are too stupid to live; others are so unpleasant they couldn’t die quick enough for my money.
The proprietor of this bar has a policy that requires the doors remain locked from the inside until the shift is up, and the on-duty manager (Val) has the only key. Forget alien parasites; imagine if the fire department found out about this highly illegal practice. Potential fire hazard aside, those still stuck inside are about to have a bigger problem because Val has begun sprouting wormy appendages as she transforms into an alien infected zombie.
The lengths to which the film goes to explain why the others cannot get out of this nightclub strains credibility far more than the notion alien worms are turning them into zombies.
For far too long most of them don’t even try to get out. Many of them just sit around talking about they want to go home, can’t understand why Val is taking so long in the bathroom, but prefer to just stand around talking amongst themselves about what’s taking her so long or discussing matters that sound like refried Clerks crap than going to knock on the door and ask what the problem is. It kind of goes a little something like this:
“Isn’t it strange that so-and-so with the only key out of this place hasn’t been seen since she went to the bathroom? Hey, why don’t you go wander off by yourself to find her while the rest of us continue to sit here and jibber-jabber about nothing of importance?”
10 minutes later…
“So-and-so with the key is still missing and now so-and-so who went looking for her also hasn’t come back. Hey, why don’t you two go look for them while the rest of us continue to sit her jibber-jabbering about nothing of importance?”
10 minutes later…
“So-and-so with the key still hasn’t turned up and the first person that went looking for her still hasn’t come back. I bet those last two are off having sex. I really want to go home. Think we should continue sitting her jibber-jabbering about nothing of importance or go look for them ourselves?”
In fairness, this isn’t entirely accurate to how a good portion of the film plays out but it damn sure felt like it to me. Nearly every scene feels stretched out beyond reason. Val’s initial transformation goes on forever. Conversations as poorly delivered as they are poorly written go on forever. This nightclub isn’t even that big; yet, the way so many can’t be bothered to be proactive for so much of the movie, how they keep branching off and creeping about the place and somehow never hearing the screams of others, you’d think they were all trapped in some sprawling mansion.
Parasitic might have made a passable short film of about 10-20 minutes in length, but as a 78-minute feature length motion picture it feels like it has at least an hour of padding. Not even Martin’s effects work could save his film from being an absolute chore to sit through.
1 out of 5