Sunday, August 10, 2014

Horror Film Review

Infected (2012):  If you suffer from insomnia and aren't a fan of sleeping pills, then this zombie flick is for you. would think it impossible to make a film featuring an undead apocalypse so mind-numbingly dull.  Sadly, one would be wrong.   OK, I better get this over with before I fall asleep trying to write it.

Remote cabin in the woods.  I'm shocked.  Instead of a group of young friends hell-bent on partying like it's 1999, it's some middle-aged dudes with their adult children getting together for a weekend of hunting.  And drinking, of course.  There's grumpy Louis (Michael Madsen) and his indifferent son Andrew (Tom DeNucci) who looks too much like Zachary Quinto.  There's the world-wise Dr. Dennehey (William Forsythe) and his world-naïve son Jeremy (Kevin DeCristofano).  There's uptight Seth (Johnny Cicco) and also three women whose relationships with the menfolk aren't terribly clear or, if I'm honest, terribly important.  Well, except for Louis' pregnant fiancé who you'd naturally think would survive and is present simply to add tension.  Nope and nope.  Oh, yeah.  Sorry.  Spoiler.

It seems there's a new flavor of Lyme disease that causes the afflicted to fall desperately ill...and then transform into shit-house-rat-crazy cannibals.  So not technically zombies.  Would the film have been better if they were?  Hell, no.  Anyway, while collecting firewood, Jeremy is set upon by a hungry grandma and becomes her supper.  It's pretty much downhill from there.  Dr. Dennehey is grief stricken and starts blasting, manages to get bitten and then spends the rest of the movie making notes on his own descent into madness.  Louis get bitten but doesn't turn (no explanation).  Seth, however, does.  One of the women has her eyeball chewed out by the Jeremy-munching grandma.  Eventually, Louis, Andrew, Louis' fiancé, and another woman make a break for it in the doctor's Jeep.  Then we get a voiceover.  It's Louis explaining how the whole world's now infected, only he and Andrew survived, but survival camps have sprung up so by golly there is hope.  The last ten minutes focus on a now buff and badass Andrew traveling the countryside in a Mad Max-inspired truck scrounging for supplies and fellow survivors. 

The sheer tonnage of problems in this film are astonishing. Why do some infected folks go full nutso cannibal and some only partially nutso cannibal?  One scene shows an obviously infected father comforting his pre-teen daughter.  He eats her, leaving only the spinal column and skull (what, did he eat all the other bones?) and then calls his ex-wife to argue about alimony and such.  Er...that's not how it's supposed to work.  Again, no explanation.  That's another point:  killing kids.  They broke the unwritten, don't-kill-kids rule not once but twice. 

Other problems include the doctor's notes on his own transformation.  Nothing is done with it.  So why did they bother?  The camp is protected by a couple of guards and one of those counter-weighted bars on the road. No high fences, no walls.  No sense at all.  Madsen may or may not have been drunk or stoned throughout the shoot.  Hard to tell.  He alternates from inaudible pontification to shouting silly things.  It nears high camp at times.  One last thing...other than the Evil Dead remake, this may be the most humorless zombie flick ever made.  Evil Dead got away with it because it was very well made.  Infected...not so much. 

The Skinny

Acting:  Forsythe is hammy, Madsen chews on the scenery like a starving rabid dog, and the rest are slightly below average. 
Story:  Lyme disease, eh?  Sure.  Why not?
Direction:  Some interesting camera angles can't make up for the glacial pacing. 
Production Values:  There's a cabin and some woods and a $2 million budget.  I'd love to know what they spent it on. 
Gore/FX:  The eating of the eye bit was fairly gross.  Average amount of blood.  I didn't notice any CGI. 
Scares:  Nope.
Ending:  Unsatisfying would be an understatement.
Verdict:  Should you see Infected?  Only if you can't sleep and have run out of Ambien.

Rating:  1 out of 5

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