Parasite Eve
Based on the Japanese best seller later turned into a popular video game, this sci-fi horror yarn follows biologist Toshiaki Nagashima (Hiroshi Mikami), whose plan to clone his dead wife (Riona Hazuki) backfires -- spawning a horrifying new species. When her parasitic DNA possesses Toshiaki's assistant (Tomoko Nakajima), it's the first step toward humanity's annihilation. The film marked the directorial debut of Masayuki Ochiai.

Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

This slack-paced J-horror flick has more in common with the original novel than the free-spirited Playstation game that took its concepts and ran with them. The long setup may be par for the course with Masayuki Ochiai, whose ambitious 2005 film Infection spent its first hour establishing paranoia and dread among its main characters before the supernatural emerged in the second half. Here the ghouls and goblins wait until the final 30 minutes, but that might be more a consequence of the film's obviously limited budget than on Ochiai's apparent determination to establish his characters' pathos and neuroses before pitting them against evil. It's noble of him that his heart is in the dramatic scenes (since it obviously isn't in the clich├ęd, paint-by-numbers horror scenes), but he lets them go on too long and too aimlessly, and for a long time the film seems to be going nowhere. Eventually it does, since even the "resolution" neglects to close a giant plot hole that, I suppose, might have been meant for a sequel. I'm a fan of the Playstation game and of Ochiai's other work, and I found this film torpid and unsatisfying, so I can only imagine how it will play for someone who isn't.

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