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Case Number 02656: Small Claims Court

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Infested: Invasion Of The Killer Bugs

Sony // 2002 // 84 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 22nd, 2003

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All Rise...

The Charge

Swatters and traps won't work because this time (enter swelling music here) they're out for blood!

The Case

Nothing brings people closer together like a funeral for a friend. And nothing tears folks apart faster than a butt load of mutant bugs on a rampage. The tragic death of a childhood buddy reunites a group of thirty-something yuppies at an isolated ocean cottage on the East Coast. Included in this group is a quasi-famous TV actor (Zach Galligan, Gremlins), the deceased's girlfriend (Amy Jo Johnson, Felicity), a drug snorting businessman (Daniel Jenkins, Cradle Will Rock), and various other bland, mildly attractive looking actors. As these old buds rehash good times (set to the dated music of Eddie Money, no less), something begins stirring outside…something evil…something terrifying…something deadly. Yes, you guessed it: cheap looking CGI flies! One by one the visitors are taken over by the insects, which when swallowed take over the host's body and turns them into zombie-like creatures. Trapped inside the house with nowhere to run, the survivors must figure out a way to stop the horde of mutant flies before they become a permanent part of the killer bug's diet!

Let's play a game. Pick a movie, any movie. Hmmm…how about The Big Chill. Okay, now let's pick another movie that couldn't possibly have anything in common with that movie. How about Irwin Allen's '70s cheese ball killer bee epic The Swarm? I think we're all in agreement that The Big Chill and The Swarm have zero in common, right? Great, we're on the same page. Now let's take elements of those two completely different titles, mash 'em together, and what do we get? Infested: Invasion of the Killer Bugs! Just imagine the nostalgic, tender feelings of people coming together to mourn a friend, then being attacked by deranged flies that want to lay eggs in their spleens. This idea came from the mind of Josh Olsen, whose previous directing/writing gig was the 2001 film Puppy Love, which isn't available for purchase or rent on any medium. Hmm…had I known this before, I might have taken it as a glaring omen. As it stands Infested: Invasion of the Killer Bugs is about the cheapest looking straight-to-DVD title I've ever seen, and believe me, I've seen 'em all. Though there are a few recognizable faces (Galligan, Johnson), everyone is basically unknown, and for very good reason: they aren't good actors. The acting aside—and really, who watches these movies for their thespian merits?—the CGI effects are just downright sloppy. Not one scene features realistic looking flies. Even when the flies are just standing still on a shower curtain they look superimposed. And while we're on the subject of flies, what the heck is up with the DVD cover? Is it just me, or do those dang things look like bees? This isn't The Swarm II. I think someone in the marketing department has their thumb permanently welded up their butt. But I digress. Infested starts out promising enough with some witty banter between the actors, then delves quickly into boring exposition. Even worse are all the plot holes and inconsistencies; if the flies can be killed by light, why are they able to fly out of their host's body and into another in broad daylight without dying? At the end there's the usual surprise twist that, frankly, isn't much of a surprise…but by that point most viewers will have lost interest. Cobble that with the fact that the origin of the mutant flies is never really explained, and you've got yourself one poop shoot of a B-movie. Recommended only to hardcore horror fans, and anyone who enjoys being hit on the head with blunt objects.

Infested: Invasion of the Killer Bugs is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. To my amazement this is actually a nice looking transfer. The colors and black levels are all fairly solid with only a few imperfections showing up in the print. This isn't to say that the transfer is great, though it's a heck of a lot better than most DVD titles of this caliber. This film may be crap, but at least it's decent looking crap. The soundtrack is presented in a generally under-whelming Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound mix. Though I didn't particularly care if this was presented in DD 5.1 or not, the fact is that the movie might have benefited had there been some nice buzzing sounds from the front and rear speakers. As it stands, the sound mix is light on directional effects, though the bulk of the track is clear and the dialogue distinguishable. Also included on this disc are subtitles in English, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, French, Korean, and Portuguese.

To no one's surprise—except maybe the Orkin man's—Infested: Invasion of the Killer Bugs is slim when it comes to extra features. The only supplements included on this disc are trailers for Infested, J-Lo's giant killer snake movie Anaconda, and special effects guru Stan Winston's "Creature Feature" straight-to-DVD titles.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 58

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• Chinese
• French
• Korean
• Portuguese
• Spanish
• Thai
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailers


• IMDb

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