Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#1,514. Infestation (2009)

Directed By: Kyle Rankin

Starring: Chris Marquette, Brooke Nevin, Kinsey Packard

Tag line: "You will be infected"

Trivia: The majority of this film was shot in Bulgaria

Written and directed by Kyle Rankin, 2009’s Infestation stars Chris Marquette as Cooper, a wise-ass office worker who was on the verge of being fired when, suddenly, he and his boss Maureen (Deborah Geffner) lose consciousness. When Cooper finally comes to, he makes a startling discovery: he and his co-workers are wrapped in cocoons, with a couple of giant-sized beetles (as big as a St. Bernard) standing guard over them! 

Once free, Cooper finishes off the two mega-bugs and manages to wake up Maureen’s daughter Sara (Brooke Nevin), before some other bugs arrive. Together, Cooper and Sara make their way to a cafeteria, where they revive Albert (Wesley Thompson) and his deaf-mute son Hugo (E. Quincy Sloan); hot blonde Cindy (Kinsey Packard); and Leechee (Linda Park), who, they'll soon discover, is studying to be a masseuse. 

Figuring that the entire area (and, for all they know, the whole world) has been overrun by a variety of humongous insects, Cooper suggests the group try its luck and head to his father's house; a retired military man, Cooper’s dad Ethan (Ray Wise) has a bomb shelter and enough food and water to last for months. But with thousands, possibly millions of bugs standing between them and their ultimate destination, odds are not everyone will make it there alive.

A slick blend of sci-fi and horror, Infestation is nonetheless more of a comedy than anything else. Chris Marquette is hilarious as Cooper, a guy who rarely takes anything seriously; moments before the insects invade, Cooper is fired from his job for spending most of his time playing a game that he himself created (when someone’s back was to him, Cooper would shout out their name. Then, when the person turned around, he’d pretend he never called them. Soon, his co-workers were playing along as well, and as a result hardly any work was getting done). Not even the end of the world can change Cooper’s carefree approach to life (despite all the killer bugs on the loose, he hits on Sara every chance he gets). 

Also quite funny is Ray Wise as Cooper’s father, Ethan, a gung-ho sort who’s at his best when things get tough. As expected, Cooper and his dad rarely see eye-to-eye, leading to some hysterical scenes between the two. Shortly after Cooper revives him, Ethan heads to his backyard and begins calling for “Lucy”. Cooper tries to explain to dear old dad that the bugs respond to loud noises, and that he should probably keep his voice down. “What if that was you out there?” Ethan asks. “Well, it’s not me anymore, is it?” Cooper shoots back, to which Ethan replies “No… just your little sister!” “Don’t call her that”, Cooper says, exasperated. It turns out Lucy is actually Ethan’s dog!

As good as Marquette and Wise are, it’s the bugs that make Infestation so damn entertaining. During the course of the movie, a few people are carried off by huge flying insects, and we even get to witness a transformation, where a person (as the result of being stung) changes into a spider-like creature before our eyes (this hybrid is easily the creepiest-looking "bug" in the movie) . As cool as these moments are, the film's grand finale, where several characters face off against the queen inside her hive, is arguably its most impressive sequence.

With its smart, witty script and better-than-average CGI, Infestation was a lot more fun than I was expecting it to be.

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