THE SCHEMES

Empire (UK) - - ON SCREEN -

Nick de Sem­lyen: The clas­sic noir Gaslight fea­tures a man trick­ing his wife into think­ing she’s go­ing in­sane. Par­a­site ramps this no­tion up con­sid­er­ably, with a whole fam­ily dup­ing an­other fam­ily, via a se­ries of elab­o­rate mind-games, into hir­ing them for full-time jobs. There is collateral dam­age along the way, namely the chauf­feur and house­keeper who are dis­missed for mis­deeds they have not com­mit­ted — the for­mer is framed via a pair of panties placed in his car, the lat­ter made to look like she’s got an in­fec­tious dis­ease through the cun­ning de­ploy­ment of peach fuzz and hot sauce. The plot­ting is di­a­bol­i­cal, yet the Parks come off badly, too; rather than have awk­ward con­ver­sa­tions with their loyal employees, they dis­miss them with spu­ri­ous ex­cuses, an in­dict­ment of the way the up­per classes fail to com­mu­ni­cate with those who serve them.

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