Dark Parasite Poster

Dark Parasite (2023) Review

When I saw the poster for Dark Parasite, I knew I was going to end up watching it. I grew up watching plenty of Italian genre films, be it giallos, Road Warrior wannabes, zombie films, Jaws knockoffs or Alien clones, I rented plenty of them from the video store and saw the odd one that played the local theatres. And even though the glory days of Italian exploitation are long gone, and what does get made is usually pretty dire, I still keep watching. Hopefully there’s still another Contamination, Deep Red or The Beyond, out there. Unfortunately, this wasn’t it, it wasn’t even another Alien 2: On Earth.

Dark Parasite opens with Jacob (David White, Dead House, Curse of the Blind Dead) going over the job he’s hired Nikita (Désirée Giorgetti, Still Out of My League, Sky Sharks), Mark (Michael Segál, Dead Bride, Out for Vengeance) and Abraham (Aaron Stielstra, They Talk, The Price of Death) to pull off. It’s a heist, well actually, it’s more of a recovery mission, they’re stealing back something that was stolen from a Russian mobster.

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Predictably, it turns into a bloodbath and the three of them find themselves lying low in a safe house waiting for Jacob and the mobster’s lieutenant to get whatever is in the briefcase and pay them off. What they don’t know is there’s an alien creature lurking in the tunnels under the house and whatever its intentions are, they aren’t friendly.

Writer/directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori who’ve previously collaborated on Morning Star, Anger of the Dead and several other films put Dark Parasite’s creature on the screen quickly both in a slug like form that crawls out of a meteorite and quickly becomes a full-grown one that attacks a homeless man (William Gambini, House of Evil) looking for shelter. Or maybe it’s not the same one. The opening is rather confusing, the meteorites are falling now, but the news talks about a rash of recent disappearances as if there are already some of them here.

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Regardless of how long it’s been there, that’s about all we see of it for the next hour. Dark Parasite’s incredibly low budget means not only don’t we see much of the monster, we don’t see much of anything, even the shootout is mostly off-screen. What we do see is lots of wandering around in the dark while Abraham talks tough, Nikita keeps insisting they’re all doomed and Mark looks for a way to get himself, Nikita and their unborn child safely out of this mess.

Apart from Nikita occasionally seeing the ghost of her dead sister (Ottavia De Vivo) for unexplained reasons, nothing happens for nearly an hour. Then the homeless guy shows up again, this time under the alien’s control. Then the alien itself shows up and somebody finds a flamethrower lying around, and we proceed to what passes for the final battle.

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Unfortunately, very little of this is the least bit exciting. The cast members are all dubbed, and their performances are unconvincing. Nothing is ever explained, are the creatures here by chance, or is this an invasion? Are the aliens intelligent? Are the writers? There’s a mid-credit scene, but it just confuses things even more. The design of the creature is fairly neat looking, but the lousy CGI is just the final nail in the film’s coffin.

I was hoping Dark Parasite would at least be an enjoyable diversion, but the absence of the alien for most of the film and the lack of any kind of action to make up for it very quickly turned it into a chore to sit through

Dark Parasite is available free with commercials on YouTube.

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