DVD Movie Review: Infection (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 21.04.2017 1

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Infection (UK Rating: 18)

Cubed3 has already covered some of the J-Horror Theater collection, a series of films produced thanks to the efforts of Takashige Ichise. After the worldwide success of The Ring, Takashige-san gathered up some of the best Japanese horror directors his country had to offer and had each produce a film to sit under the J-Horror Theater umbrella (check out Cubed3's reviews of Reincarnation and Premonition here). This film from Masayuki Ochiai, best known for Parasite Eve, was the opening chapter of this project and, considering the current state of the NHS, it may have been rather prophetic!

Based in a heavily understaffed and horribly overworked hospital in Tokyo, a doctor makes an error that results in fatal repercussions that could mean the death of not just a patient, but the hospital itself, as well. In an urgent bid to cover up the mistake, the staff work together to make the death seem like a natural one. Unfortunately, for them, a desperate doctor uses their screw-up to his advantage. An emergency patient is admitted with a strange, unknown infection, and the doctor blackmails the staff into investigating this unique case... despite the risks to everyone in the hospital. He hopes the previously undiscovered virus could lead to medical journal publishing, research grants, a public focus, and more funding to revitalise the failing hospital.

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The infection does what infections do: it spreads. The hapless victim begins exuding what the doctors refer to as gangrene but looks like luminous green slime straight out of Dead Alive and, soon enough, the staff begin leaking green slime from various orifices, too, along with strange and unique symptoms.

The first act is filled with promise, establishing some interesting - if one-dimensional - characters, an atmospheric backdrop in the failing hospital, and a promising premise in the infection. Sadly, in the second and third act, it all starts to feel quite muddled. Instead of establishing the symptoms of the infection or utilising the backdrop of a hospital and its many patients, the story gets weird. Very weird. It throws together auditory and visual hallucinations, zombie-esque behaviour, deadite-style behaviour, explosive body-horror, and…possibly even ghosts? It seems to be trying to keep the viewers guessing as to the truth of what's going on but ends up just feeling confusing and unsure of what it wants to really be.

The presentation of the film is great, at least, both in its soundtrack and in the cinematography. Masayuki-san has a heck of an eye and crafts some superb scenes here. The state of disrepair of the hospital is well established by the dim lighting and muted tones, but when the infection begins to spread, the luminous green looks stark and repulsive, looking like something from the great old '80s gore-fest movies, suddenly oozing into a drab, subdued world. Masayuki-san constructs a truly tense and atmospheric experience; a shame the underlying story does not deserve his skills.

Rated 3 out of 10


Infection is a unique, but incoherent, crazily over-the-top, yet utterly confusing, film that starts out promising but concludes in a completely disappointing way. It tries to do too many things and, as a result, even the great direction and Silent Hill-esque finale are not enough to make this gangrenous mess worth watching.

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I always thought Premonition was the first of the bunch, followed by Reincarnation...possibly because in terms of quality I'd definitely say it's P -> R -> Infection, so just presumed it was quality dipping as the movie releases were rushed out.

I don't quite remember disliking this one as much as you, though, Drew. Although, saying that, seeing the trailer now makes me cringe a bit, and not in a "ooh, scary" sort of way!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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