It’s been seven years since Chad Ferrin’s last film Someone’s Knocking at the Door, now he’s finally back with Parasites, a lean tale of urban survival horror. Set on the very bad side of L.A. Trading the more outrageous plots of his previous films for a more plausible tale of a man forced to fight for his life against a murderous gang of street people he’s come up with his most accessible film so far.
Three college football players get lost in the wrong part of L.A. After their SUV has it’s tires taken out by a stuuded board they wind up in a confrontation with the gang that set the trap. The resulting confrontation leaves two of them dead and Marshal (Sean Samuels) naked and running for his life with Wilco (Robert Miano) and his gang right behind him. He’ll have to kill or be killed as he deals not only with the gang but with the others threats he runs across on these mean streets.
Since it’s premiere at this years Fantasia the film has drawn frequent comparisons to John Carpenter’s Escape from New York but it’s inspiration would seem to be Cornel Wilde’s 1965 thriller The Naked Prey in which a group on safari in Africa anger a tribe of natives who kill all but one of them, (played by Wilde himself) strip him naked and release him in order to hunt him. This is it’s urban counterpart, set in the concrete jungle with updated violence and nudity, (ladies may be happy to know Ferrin isn’t shy about filming the nude hero). As if to acknowledge it, horror icon Joseph Pilato plays a homeless man named Wilde.
The two leads both put in compelling performances, Samuels as the desperate prey determined to survive at all costs gives a great physical performance, as he fights his way to safety. He doesn’t get a lot of dialogue but he says a lot with his body language. Miano on the other hand gets plenty to say as he marshals his troops and keeps them in line, especially once their ranks start getting thinned out. Coming off as a cross between General Patton and Charles Manson he’s absolutely chilling.
The city by night photography also should be mentioned, it various from stunning long shots of the city to more gritty shots of the surroundings that will have you swearing you can smell the garbage that lines the streets. Add in Matthew Olivo’s synth based score and you can see where the comparisons to Carpenter come from. For an obviously low budget film it’s very well crafted.
While I do have a few reservations about the ending, this is a film that deserves to be seen. Parasites will be available to rent or own in the US and Canada starting January 24th on iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu and Xbox from 108 Media.