Very reminiscent of 2002’s tongue in cheek ‘8 legged freaks’, ‘Infestation’ strays into the hit or miss minefield which is a funny creature movie! I always find selecting movies from this genre somewhat risky owing to the copious amount of flat out shit ones which try to be funny but just come across as pure geeky and irritating. Rightly or wrongly, I viewed ‘Infestation’ with fairly low aspirations.
Every now and then its pleasant to be proven wrong, and with a strong to-the-point beginning the movie provided me with a decent 90 minutes of light hearted fun.
As you can tell from both the title and the box art, the plot is simply about an infestation of giant bugs. Whilst overall the origins are not really explained it became evident from watching the special features that the insects came from space, although for all intent and purposes, they simply look like bigger versions of beetles and wasps.
The story is as linear as it gets, and is quite possibly the weakest element of the movie. Giant insects invade, some people survive, get to know one another, the hot girl gets taken to the nest, the group must go to get her back and then ... well you guess the end...
It is a shame really that more wasn’t made of the story because much of the elements needed to pull it off were in place. The acting was really quite good. I always find it hard to imagine how an actor can act out such an unlikely scenario, even more so when you consider that with the use of CGI much of the threat isn’t even present on the set, however in ‘Infestation’ they manage to sidestep potential problems by creating a group of characters which were easy to relate to, and, I suspect, ones which mirrored the actors own personalities.
The script was concise and quirky which really helped keep the non-attack sections of the movie rolling along at a fairly decent pace. Much of the comedy comes through sarcasm and silly scenarios which for the most part do well to keep the atmosphere light hearted. The majority of jokes and character banter is funny, although there are some running jokes throughout the movie, most concerning the main character ‘Cooper’ which weren’t all that amusing, but I guess all comedy is like that to some extent, with all of us being different and all.
Rounding the package off nicely is the creature element of the movie, which through a clever use of models, prosthetics and CGI, put the giant bugs onto the screen with reasonable believability. They never look quite right, but once you get used to it the flaws don’t seem to hamper the scenes they are in. Within the movie there are 4 different bug species; beetles, wasps, the queen who is basically just a giant maggot and then the human/spider hybrid which is basically just a human torso with spider legs. The latter are pretty gross, and although the final product looks a little suspect from an effects point of view the transformation from human to hybrid is pretty impressive when you see legs bursting from the torso of the infected. Overall the violence is fairly restricted and it’s not overly gory but it doesn’t really need to be, and you never feel you are missing out on anything and what is shown fits in with the more comic aspect of the movie.
Overall if you liked ‘8 Legged Freaks’, ‘Black Sheep’ and ‘ Lake Placid’ then you will find this almost on par. For a low budget movie it certainly out does itself, although in reflection I still find the story a little too generic and linear and it lacks any sort of metaphorical message which usually accompanies such movies which makes it feel shallow. On the flip side, it is funny, the creatures look pretty good and at 90 minutes it doesn’t leave much time for things to go south.