Parallel Review: A group of app designers discover a portal to the multiverse in this mind-spinning slice of science-fiction.
Screening in the UK as part of Arrow Video Frightfest’s Halloween line-up,Paralleloffers a distinctly science-fiction slant to the programme. Noel (Martin WallStröm) and Devin (Aml Ameen) are deep into production of a revolutionary parking app. Along with housemates Josh (Mark O’Brien) and Leena (Georgia King), they’ve reached the investment stage, but hit a roadblock when their investors request a working version sooner than they can deliver. Learning that a competitor can achieve the goal, the group resign themselves to losing-out on their big break. That is until they happen upon a mirror portal hidden in the walls of their new rental property. The portal offers them, not only the chance to achieve their deadline, but opens up a whole wealth of opportunities. As greed takes over, the group find themselves on a very dangerous downward spiral.
Our story starts out well, the high-concept is handled well, generating excitement and intrigue. Our characters are having fun and so to do the audience. Somewhere around the final act however, the wheels start to come a little unstuck. There’s a turn or two too many, and it would probably flow better were it five to ten minutes shorter. But even at it’s weakest moment, Parallel still remains an entertaining jaunt across the multiverse.
The young cast are great, and with the exception of Mr. Robot‘s Martin WallStröm, all relative newcomers. The lack of star power and indie values set Parallel apart, and in an odd way, it all feels a bit like the original Flatliners. The film has that same dark tone, and veers off in an unexpected direction partway through, but Parallel never gets quite as grim. That’s not to say that there aren’t some very disturbing ideas floated around, there’s just no Kiefer Sutherland turning murderous, or a ghost from the other-side hunting characters down.
Director Isaac Ezban has a very interesting visual style. For example, the camera angle changes depending on what universe you are in, it’s a nice way for the audience to figure out where they are without being explicitly told. There are also some very nice shots like the above utilising mirrors effectively.
The multiverse has rarely been so deadly as that displayed in Parallel. It’s not a horror film in the traditional sense, but does offer a glimpse into the true horror of man’s nature; greed and the power that knowledge has to corrupt. A more accessible version of Primer, Parallel offers a lot of ideas that will get the brain whirling and debates going. Personally, I’d love a time-distorting portal, I could get so many things done!
Parallel review, Kat Hughes, October 2018.
Parallel was reviewed at the Arrow Video Frightfest Halloween 2018.