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 dog) standing guard over them! After finishing off the two mega-bugs, Cooper begins waking others up, including Maureen’s daughter Sara (Brooke Nevin). 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’s studying to be a masseuse. Realizing the entire area (and perhaps the whole world) has been overrun by humongous bugs, Cooper suggests that the safest place to hide is his father’s house (a retired military man, Cooper’s dad Ethan, played by Ray Wise, has a bomb shelter and enough food and water to last for months). So, the next morning, the group ventures out into the unknown, but when something terrible happens to Sara, the usually-selfish Cooper starts to rethink his plan.

A slick blend of sci-fi and horror, Infestation is more 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, which 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 could 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 arrives at his house, he revives Ethan, who heads to his backyard and begins calling for “Lucy”. Cooper tries to explain to Ethan that the bugs respond to loud noises, and tells him to 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 much damn fun. 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 entertaining as these moments are, the grand finale, where several characters face off against the queen inside her hive, is arguably the film's most impressive sequence.

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

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