Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Infestation

directed by Edward Evers-Swindell

Infestation poster  
In the wake of 28 Days Later, post-apocalyptic near future stories featuring deadly viruses have been spreading like the plague. Do we really need more of the same? The makers of Infestation seem to think so. This is yet another zombie apocalypse romp, except this time it's done on the kind of shoestring budget that makes the annual school play at your local comprehensive look like a blockbuster.

Following a viral outbreak that wiped out billions, humanity has retreated underground. In 2034 Loki (Ross Evison) is a pilot in some sort of defence force, keeping the underground city of Subtropolis free threats such as the terrorist Tunnel Rats. He's disillusioned when one of his jobs goes terribly wrong, and lots of innocent civilians are killed. As a result he quits his job as a pilot and goes to work in the sewage department. But his friend Sash (Susan Riley) is given a top-secret assignment, which she accepts on the condition that Loki is on her team. This mission involves going back to the surface.

Almost everything takes place in an extremely desaturated light which emphasises the gloom of underground. Massive cities have sprung up, although they're depicted by some very cheap-looking CGI. The bad effects might have been more credible if the acting were more convincing. The cast of unknowns don't deliver their lines with anything approaching good timing or conviction. Since they're often meant to be making snappy one-liners this is particularly bad. Loki has a lot of lines that are presumably supposed to make him seem cool, but more often than not he ends up being unintentionally laughable.

Having said that, Ross Evison is one of the better actors in the movie, because he moves well in the plentiful martial arts scenes. This is just as well, since there's no wire work, nor any other effects that would make the action look more flashy. Yet this is a film that's full of fight scenes, and the whole direction of the plot is geared towards frequent rumbles.

A group of soldiers are sent to the surface to investigate reports of people moving, and to rescue another team who have gone missing. From here onwards the plot is excruciatingly predictable. The banter between the members of their team ranges from dodgy to outright toe-curling, and none of this is helped by the actors' obvious inexperience. Add to this a lack of appropriately suspenseful music, and the open and spacious setting of an abandoned holiday camp, and you have an atmosphere that's distinctly lacking in suspense.

The plot is full of holes. The air topside is supposed to be deadly, but we aren't told why there are massive vents that open at regular intervals, allowing the air into the underground. The Tunnel Rats are introduced, but we don't hear much about them after the first few scenes. And what do the people eat when they're living underground, without access to sunlight? These would be pertinent questions in any other movie, but with a film as lacklustre as Infestation it's hard to work up the enthusiasm to even care. Certainly the writers don't seem to, because rather than answering them they serve up what amounts to a splattery, sweary scrap. It's lame, and the creators don't seem to realise just how bad it is. It's not even done in a tongue-in-cheek way. This third-rate movie is made almost entirely unwatchable by terrible dialogue, clichéd and obvious plotting, and a cast who are mostly clueless.

Film Details

Year: 2005

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 18

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1 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

Comments

Dan Wilson     20th May, 2009 15:30pm

I think the 'reviewer' has kind of missed the point on this one. Yet again another review saying that it's a rip off of 28 days later, when one listen to the commentary reveals that it was made BEFORE it! Duh!

Ros     20th May, 2009 16:54pm

I don't say it's a rip-off, I say it's more of the same. It's a subtle distinction. I'm not accusing the makers of plagiarism, merely of over-using a theme.

28 Days Later was released in the UK in 2002, whereas Infestation didn't come out until 2005. So they had a chance to withdraw it, even if they chose not to.

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