Originally shot and sent on a festival tour that included Fantasia in 2016, Chad Ferrin’s Parasites has resurfaced. With a new title and some seriously misleading artwork. Now dubbed Attack In LA and looks like it involves some kind of massive, well-armed uprising of the city’s poor. It’s actually a very well done and very low budget thriller about one man’s battle with a violent group of street people.
Ending the director’s seven-year hiatus after Someone’s Knocking at the Door, Attack In LA is a lean tale of urban survival horror. 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. It’s his most accessible film so far.
Three college football players get lost in the wrong part of LA. After their SUV has it’s tires taken out by a studded 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, Toxic Shark) naked and running for his life. With Wilco (Robert Miano, The Final Shift, Firestarter) and his gang right behind him. He’ll have to kill or be killed. Not only as he deals with the gang but with the other threats he runs across on these mean streets.
Since it’s premiere at Fantasia Attack In LA 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). They strip him naked and release him in order to hunt him.
Attack In LA is its 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 Joe Pilato (Day Of The Dead, Pulp Fiction) 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. 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 chilling.
The city by night photography also should be mentioned. It varies 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, Attack In LA is very well crafted.
While I do have a few reservations about the ending, Attack In LA is worth a watch. It’s available for streaming via ITN. Check out its Facebook page for any updates.