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A Magazine for Sheffield

Parasite: Them...and us

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Bong Joon-Ho's tale of the clashing worlds of the wealthy Park family and the impoverished Kim family relies on a wilful ignorance of what exactly this sharp, funny and profoundly chilling film is.

Parasite is a masterclass in rug-pull storytelling, a film that lulls you into comfort and warmth with its dark, offbeat humour and dysfunctional family of protagonists. The moment you begin to suspect that Bong may have overplayed his hand or burnt out a tad too quickly, Parasite's tone shifts for the first, but absolutely not the last, time. Every performance given by the actors of the Kim family simmers on the pure heat of envy and frustration. Bong has expertly realised what is obviously a long-standing and deep-seated vision of class consciousness - and of the have-nots finally having.

Parasite is an ever-twisting vipers nest of a film. You ogle at the snakes just long enough to start seeing venom and to begin hearing a hiss, but before you know it you are standing among shed skin and the trails of what you were staring at only moments ago. A rug is pulled, a trap door is opened and Parasite has already cast its spell on you.

A jigsaw puzzle of symbol, metaphor and totem, hours upon hours will be spent labouring over Bong's cobweb of meaning. Dog's leashes, peach fuzz and three little lights on a stairwell take on frightening and perverse new meaning in the hands of this director, a master of the craft who uses everything at his disposal to create one of the most impressive, laser-focused films in recent memory.

Bong understands that the monsters in our wardrobe cease to scare us when we see them in the daylight. But in Parasite, not being scared of something doesn't make it your friend.

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