Infection: The Invasion Begins (2010)

DVD Cover (Morningstar Entertainment)
Howard Wexler Howard Wexler
Kelly Pendygraft Kelly Pendygraft
Alice Amter Alice Amter
Terry Becker Terry Becker
Bryan Brewer Bryan Brewer
Chuck Carter Chuck Carter

2.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Alien Film, Science Fiction, Thriller
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Review by Chad
Added: April 12, 2010
Like most horror geeks, I'm a huge sucker for Night of the Creeps. To me, that was the perfect blend of laughs and horror, and films like that don't come around too very often. Slither was basically a retelling of Creeps with updated effects and a few storyline twists, but the end result was so good that I just can't fault the movie. So, when I heard about Infection: The Invasion Begins, a new film that borrows this "alien worms take over human bodies" plot, I couldn't help but get excited. Had I seen this story before? Sure, but it could provide another solid night in front of the tube. Did it? Well, let's see...

We begin things in the year 2069, where we meet up with a reporter who is investigating what is now known as "the modern plague", a catastrophic event that took place in a small town on September 9th, 2009. The government insists that it was just that: a plague that killed off almost the entire town, but was thankfully contained in time. The reporter eventually stumbles across an elderly lady in a retirement home who swears that it didn't quite play out the way that the officials would have you believe, and by her account, it went down a little something like this...

Back on that fateful day in 2009, a meteorite crashed into a small town, bringing with it dozens of small worm-like creatures that work their way into human hosts, take over their bodies, and use them to spread the little alien bastards around. Anyone who stands in their way is killed. Fortunately for the town, a small band of heroes decide to stand up to the threat, and they - Deke (Bryan Brewer), a fellow who just got out of jail for murder, Sarah (Kelly Pendygraft), Deke's former love, and Sheriff Bowen (Lochlyn Munro), a man who wants nothing more than to see Deke gone for good - set out to find a way to end this madness once and for all while saving as many of the hosts as possible.

Now, I sort of glossed over this in my synopsis, but the first half of the film is entirely character-based, and it allows us plenty of time to discover who these characters are and what makes them tick. It's fairly basic stuff: Deke is fresh out of jail, the Sheriff wants him out of town, Sarah is conflicted on whether or not to have anything to do with him, the local toughs want to introduce their fists to his face, so on and so forth. We've seen it before, but what makes this chunk of the film work far better than it should have was the acting. I generally avoid mentioning the acting in indie flicks, due to the fact that even an "above average" performance in most of these films would only be "mediocre" by mainstream standards - So-N-So may have stole every scene in Random Zombie Movie, but put him in a big budget release and he'd be lucky to be on par with the bit characters.

That is a blanket statement and there are obviously exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, it's the truth. Infection is one of those exceptions, as I couldn't have been happier with the performances we were given. Both Bryan Brewer and Kelly Pendygraft were quite good in their respective roles and the lesser characters were perfectly acceptable, but the real star of the show was Lochlyn Munro. I've seen Munro in a few other films over the years, but he never really stood out due to the fact that he was always saddled with minor roles in said films. Here, he is given the ball, and trust me when I say that he takes it and runs. The man is truly phenomenal in his role here, and it's a shame that he is as underrated as he is. Hollywood, give this man some work.

As for the rest of the film, it's a bit of a hit or miss prospect. There are long stretches where nothing much is happening, and there was much more emphasis on the "what should we do next" sections instead of the "we're kicking alien ass" sections. The aforementioned acting abilities made these scenes work better and stay interesting longer than they should have, but they did start to stretch thin regardless. Think of it as watching an adult film with a gorgeous lady (or guy, depending on your preferences) who just stands there looking into the camera: yeah, it's great for a few minutes while it's still fresh, but after awhile, you want to see something happen. The acting was good and the characters were well-written, but this movie needed a little more action (either literal action or at least intriguing plot twists) to liven things up.

I had a few other gripes, but nothing that would really destroy the deal. There was some horrific CGI effects on display, and I'm not talking "horrific by Sci-Fi Channel standards": it's more along the lines of "here's a shot of a house with flames Photoshopped over it." The aliens themselves were also done with CGI, but thankfully, those do fare a little better if you don't mind a little camp. There are also mountains of unanswered questions, with a big one coming at the end of the film. I don't want to give it away even though it's not a huge spoiler, but I just don't see how it was plausible unless there is a sequel in the works that introduces many new ideas to this universe. Again, this is not something that will kill the film, but it did bug me enough to point it out.

Overall, Infection is a decent little alien invasion film that owes a lot to Creeps and Slither, and though it doesn't match up to either of them, it should provide a decent night of entertainment for their fans. It's a fun movie that provides some laughs and some interesting sci-fi writing, and though far from perfect, it is by no means horrible either. Give it a rental. 6/10.
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