Parasite Eve (1997)

Class: Staff
Author: Forrest Freund
Score: (4/5)
October 10th, 2002 [Review May Contain Spoilers]

One fault that I often find in western movies, particularly those from the U.S.A. is that they are distinctively lacking when it comes to using anything from the real world. "Where did this monster come from?" "Um. it came from over there." These are the typical lines that I expect from any science fiction movie made in the United States. Fortunately, when it comes to the Japanese, I am rarely confronted with the use any such weak explanations. Case and point, Parasite Eve, a movie that I adore, not only because it is based on some actual science, but because it uses it in a way that is not only interesting, but truly horrifying.

Parasite Eve, for those of you who haven't heard of it, is a horror movie based on, shockingly enough, a parasite that we cannot live without. This isn't any US movie style parasite that attaches itself to your brain stem and controls you because it wants someone to talk to, but an actual endo-symbiotic organelle that we naturally carry. These little critters are known as mitochondria, and they are an essential part of our existence. Without these little organisms living in our cells, we couldn't process energy and would thus die. That said, the movie takes an interesting premise, and it is this: after countless generations of servitude in our cells, the mitochondria decide that they want to be running the show, so they rebel, in the form of Mitochondria Eve, a massive amalgamation of thousands of mitochondria, cultured from the liver of the deceased wife of a reclusive microbiologist.

Cast wise, I think that all of the actors did a superb job. Riona Hazuki, the actress that played Mitochondria Eve, was particularly impressive though. In the outset of the movie, she is a sweet, innocent little housewife who is about to celebrate her first wedding anniversary. Later, as Mitochondria Eve, she becomes a cold, ruthless, almost demonic force bent on liberating her brethren from the control of humans. Both parts are played not only exceptionally well, but also convincingly.

Musically, the movie is quite well done as well. From the somber music when Eve's host dies to the thoroughly evil sounding music when she first appears, the musical score is simply astounding.

When it comes to the powers that Eve displays, I am, once again, impressed by the accuracy the author represented the abilities that something controlling our mitochondria would have. Eve's ability to cause people to combust by releasing the energy in all the mitochondria in the target's body is an accurate interpretation of what would happen if our mitochondria did all spontaneously release all of their energy.

Above all, this is a good movie in my opinion because it's not only science fiction, but good science fiction, because there is actual biological science and evidence involved in the story. Thus, this movie automatically ranks high with me, because it takes a living, "breathing" biological entity and uses it in a very interesting way. (Then again, I might be prejudiced because I like mitochondria.)