The Surprising Way Parasite Flooded Those Basement Apartments

The siblings of Parasite

Mild spoilers ahead for Parasite!

Awards Season has officially come to a close, as last night was the annual Academy Awards. The movie world's biggest night was full of twists and turns, and it was an especially strong one for director Bong Joon-ho's dark comedy Parasite. The South Korean film won a ton of major categories, including Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, and Best Director. This was a groundbreaking turn of events, one that should inspire casual moviegoers to check the movie out. Now we know how Bong Joon-ho managed to pull off Parasite's flood scene.

About halfway through Parasite, the Kim family successfully manages to manipulate the Parks and get hired as members of the staff. A massive rain storm creates a moment of chaos when the Parks return home, and the Kims eventually find their semi-basement apartment basically underwater. It's a fascinating juxtaposition in status, and highlights how desperate the situation is for the struggling family. Bong Joon-ho recently explained how they pulled this effect of, saying:

Because we had to flood the entire neighborhood, we built it in a giant swimming pool, a water tank. And on the last day of shooting we poured in sewage water.

Well, that's one way of doing things. While the Kims' semi-basement and neighborhood felt real, it turns out it was entirely built on a water tank. This allowed for the flooding sequence to take place without damaging any actual buildings. Talk about world building.

Bong Joon-ho's comments come from a featurette Q&A that accompanies Parasite, and peels the curtain back on how the Oscar-winning director crafted his acclaimed movie. Parasite is very much a commentary on class, and the two family's homes could not be more different. The Kims were already doing poorly at the start of the film, but having their apartment completely flooded really raised the stakes.

There is one part of Bong Joon-ho's above quote that might have caused pause: the sewage water. Did he really subjected the cast of Parasite to deal with such nasty conditions? Rest easy, because he went on to clarify that aspect of his comment. As his translator said:

It had the face masks in the water. Mud face masks, very healthy and good for your skin.

Well, that's a relief. Because while the sewage water of Parasite certainly looked disgusting, it wasn't nearly as nasty during film. Mainly because the sludge they were walking through actually had healing properties for their sin. That's movie magic, people.

After dominating the Academy Awards last night, there will likely be even more eyes on Parasite. It should be interesting to see what type of projects Bong Joon-ho brings to theaters next, and how this new type of acclaim helps him develop more movies.

Parasite is in theaters and available to stream now. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.