There are spoilers for this movie to follow.
But in any case, this is the story of how I went to the cinema and watched this movie by accident.
Basically, I don’t go to the theater often. It’s usually not an enjoyable experience for me, but this was a special occasion. Birthday date kind of thing. Thus, of course, it’s the wife’s pick with what we are to go and see ~ and she loves horror.
Having heard a recommendation for some kind of alien space horror flick that’s apparently playing at the time of this post, she was keen to see that. Something about a virus or bacteria people encounter in outer space.
So, having got our tickets and my only seeing a poster for the movie very briefly there we are, sitting in the Vietnamese cinema watching the opening intro credits for this film, called “Parasite.” It’s called Ký Trùng in Vietnamese.
I noticed it’s all Korean actors.
Ah, a Korean flick? Well, no worries, they make a lot of horror movies too. Usually ghost movies, but eh, let’s see what they got.
Five minutes in, I’m seeing the makings of a plot revolving around a struggling family of four – a son in his mid twenties, a younger daughter similarly aged, a husband and a wife – living in the slums of (presumably) Seoul. The neighborhood in which they lived greatly resembled some places I’d seen when I visited Korea back around 2013 or so.
Alright, I’m thinking, so the space parasite is gonna take root in a poor neighborhood before growing into something terrible…?
Ten minutes in, the plot hasn’t left this poor family, and they’re fun characters but the mood is tinged with comedy. The central character, Ki-Woo (the son in the poor family) is contacted by an old friend and is given some kind of river rock sculpture that’s meant to bring material wealth to a family. Ah, so is it a space rock, containing the virus that’ll evolve into the space parasite…?
Fifteen minutes, the supposed main character is charged with tutoring English to the daughter of a rich family. Ah, surely this fish out of water scenario will … somehow set off a cascade of events that will send this guy up into space? A case of mistaken identity will send a regular schmo in place of an astronaut…?
Twenty minutes. I lean over to Lan, after we see the Protag’ swindle his way into the rich people’s household, lie to the rich mom, and convince them to hire a person he knows to be an Art Therapist for rich family’s young boy who is just a regular kid but appears to have ‘eccentricities.’ The art therapist is the protagonist’s sister, who is apparently also quite a good con artist.
“Sweetie,” I said, leaning over, “I don’t think this is a horror movie.” I was rewarded for my insight with an expression on my wife’s face that I don’t often see: utter confusion and complete agreement.
Turns out the title, Parasite, is in reference to this poor family of con-artists infiltrating the rich family’s household, posing as individual workers; the son as an English tutor, the sister as an art therapist, later the dad as the new personal driver for the CEO Husband and Rich Wife, and the mother as the new Housekeeper.
Things spiral out of the realm of predictability after that. It’s a godsdamn 2.5 hour long film.
I did, but not so much because of the events that transpired ~ things diverge into murder and hiding their true identities from the rich family from which they’re parasite-ing… yet despite moments of pretty extreme violence, it’s still a silly movie.
I guess this is what they call a Dark Comedy. But the real reason I enjoyed it was because it was a breath of fresh air, I could follow the plot but I had no idea where the story was going. Usually I don’t like that kind of thing, but maybe because I stepped into the cinema with zero expectations, anything is better than zero…?