First Look Pictures // 2009 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 13th, 2009
Prepare for global swarming.
It's an insect apocalypse and you're invited. You know, if you're a fan of tongue-in-cheek survival horror, I'd consider attending.
Mindless office worker/slacker Cooper (Chris Marquette) has no idea that a typical day at work could turn into Armageddon. One second he's in the middle of getting fired, and the next thing he knows he's covered in webbing and fighting for his life against a freakishly huge black bug that would like nothing more than to eat his face.
After Cooper gathers together a ragtag group of survivors, he realizes the problem is a lot bigger than the office. These bug-things have overrun the outside world, too...and worse, they appear to have mastered the impressive maneuver of turning humans into hybrid Daddy Long Legs. So it falls to Cooper, his new gal pal (Brooke Nevin), and his paramilitary hard-ass dad (Ray Wise, Reaper) to track down the nest, smite the queen, and save the world.
This movie is big fun. I don't where it came from or how it flew under the radar, but friends, Infestation is exactly the kind of B-movie romp we need to see more often. There's not much I require for a low-budget creature feature to mildly entertain me, but it's rare to come across a direct-to-DVD genre flick that concocts the perfect blend of comedy, shocks, and creativity. Writer/director Kyle Rankin has nailed the formula and Infestation is one of the biggest surprises I've seen this year.
Before I get too saccharine, I'll prove my critical sourpuss chops and say...no, this movie isn't perfect. After a memorable opening, the momentum sags a bit. The climax is derivative of every other Menacing-Creature-Tearing-Up-the-World-So-it-Falls-to-a-Plucky-Band-of-Hooligans-to-Resolve-the-Problem production out there, but that's really the extent of my complaints.
When a cult film like this manages to emerge from a pack of so many also-rans, it's worthy of praise, so that is what I shall do: heap praise upon Infestation. Now, a more cynical reader might think I've grown so accustomed to a weekly assault of generic or worthless dreck to review that anything even a molecule better stands out. Not the case. Infestation is legit.
The humor is what stands out. The script never takes itself too seriously and the actors are more than willing to follow the lead of what's on the page. Chris Marquette runs point on the goofiness, playing it just right. In lesser hands, with lesser material, the character of Cooper -- a hapless loser who makes smart-ass remarks -- could have easily been intolerable. The other survivors primarily play straight men, which works. That is until Ray Wise enters the picture, bringing with him the smarmy attitude he perfected on Reaper.
Behind the comedy, there's an effective creature tale. The bugs -- giant black beetle things -- are rendered almost entirely in CGI. This can be hit-and-miss, with some of the bugs looking pretty good and others landing squarely in the made-for-TV movie category. The visual effects heavy finale is similarly uneven, but the computer work is good enough not to distract from what is a great little flick.
The DVD doesn't disappoint either. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is clean and serviceable, as is the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, which pumps out an impressive score nicely. The lone extra is a director's commentary.
Fast-moving, light-hearted, and fun, Infestation delivers a sublime B-movie experience.
Not Guilty. No exterminator needed here.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: First Look Pictures
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R