Parasite Eve (Japan 1997)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 10/25/01
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Cast: Riona Hazuki

Based on the bestselling novel that spawned the hit video game, Hideaki Sena's "Parasite Eve" finally hits the big screen. Toshiaki Nagashima is a leading researcher in the study of mitochondria, and his theories are pretty wild. Unfortunately, he's so wrapped up in his research that he ignores his impossibly pretty wife Kiyomi (heart attack inducing Riona Hazuki) and forgets their first wedding anniversary. This is when we realize that the good doctor is completely out of his mind, because if you had a wife like this around, you'd never let her out of your sight. Anyway, before Toshiaki can apologize and make it up to Kiyomi, she gets fatally wounded in a car accident. On the verge of mental collapse, Toshiaki agrees to donate Kiyomi's kidney to an ailing twelve year old girl, on the condition that he can keep her liver to perform more bizarre experiments on. His experiments bring his precious Kiyomi back - as well as something else...

The movie is creepy and gross, and is very slick and professional looking. The special effects are very good and the surgery scenes are unsettling. Joe Hisaishi's music score is superb and really brings the film to life. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Riona Hazuki is amazingly beautiful? Whew... Unfortunately, where the film suffers most is in its tedious pacing. Lengthy drama is substituted for suspense and it seems that the film could have accomplished just as much in half the time, and done it better. It literally takes over an hour to get the ball rolling, even when you know what's going to happen in the first ten minutes of the film. Come on, let's get this thing moving! Still, the film is very enjoyable, if for nothing else to watch Riona Hazuki burn a hole through your soul with her petrifying gaze. It's also nice to see such high production values on a film whose genre is usually relegated to low budget, shot on video, pulp entertainment.