Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Infested (USA, 2002)

Director Fred Decker — who did not make this film, but did make the absolutely fabulous Night of the Creeps (1986/trailer) — is quoted to have said "You never set out to make a cult movie." Obviously not everyone agrees with him, for director Josh Olsen obviously did exactly that with this 2002 film, his only directorial credit to date (today is July 29, 2009).
As might be expected from an industry-worker who has (also to date) acted as presenter for a total of 20 trailers at that great website Trailers From Hell — including Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974), Ms. 45 (1981), Boss Nigger (1975), Galaxy Of Terror (1981), Shogun Assassin (1980), Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975) and The Apple (1980) — he didn’t simply try to just make a cult film, but instead chose to go the Full Monty and film a true-blooded Guilty Pleasure. And what can one say, other than that he succeeded?
Infested is a no-budget piece of entertaining crap starring a bunch of has-beens, never-beens, never-will-bes and other such familiar faces that joins Night of the Lepus (1972/trailer) and Frogs (1972/trailer) as a film with one of the most unfrightening concepts of a creature of mortal deadliness: in this case, the house fly. (Don’t be tricked by the bugs on the DVD cover — the film is about mutant killer flies, not mutant killer wasps or bees.) But, as to be expected from a Guilty Pleasure, the flies aren't just normal flies, they’re badly animated CGI flies that eat your brain when they get inside of you, turning you into a mindless, unstoppable zombie! Now that’s a concept that was definitely not thought up with the Academy in mind...
Like any person with half a brain, Josh Olsen must have hated that Yuppie piece of self-involved self-pity The Big Chill (1983/trailer), for he swipes it totally as the framework situation of Infested. The credits roll as a bunch of successful NYC yuppies get a phone call one-by-one which results in their getting together for the burial of one of their former clique, who has killed himself. The only unsuccessful one among them, he had been working as a janitor at a governmental institution when he took his life by wrapping himself completely in plastic. At the funeral, the yuppies are all more happy to see each other than they are disturbed by the death of their former friend, and all go to a nice house by the Hudson to spend the weekend together. Joined by the girlfriend of their dead pal, Jesse (Amy Jo Johnson, who will surely one day do a chick flick with Jennifer Garner, playing Jennifer's spunky younger sister), at the house they dance to an English-language version of Da-Da-Da (by the German band Trio, a true one-hit wonder group), question their values and re-bond... and maybe screw around, if the chance comes up.
But no sooner does one of them (Nahanni Johnstone) have her topless scene than does she swallow a bunch of flies and go zombie. She promptly gives it to a "Desperate Husband" (Tuc Watkins as Brad), and the shit hits the fan. One by one the flies take over the yuppies in a spectacle of lousy CGI effects and a lot of blood (love that scene of Warren [Zach Galligan of Gremlins (1984/trailer)] cutting the flies from his injured leg with a razor), until only the drug-dealing and ecstasy-tripping Eric (Robert Duncan McNeill, who has really put on the weight since his days as Tom aboard the Voyager) and Jesse are left to destroy the flies and zombies and save both their necks and the earth. At that point, the two discover that the song Da-Da-Da makes the flies explode...
Actually, the flies also explode when they are hit by light, but this plot point comes and goes as needed for there is many a scene when they don’t explode although they should. But then who expects a Guilty Pleasure to be logical? And make no mistakes about it, Infested is impossible to enjoy on any other level. The acting, dialog, plot development, (most of the) special effects and anything that must be good to make a half-way professional film are for the most part missing or fifth-rate, and therein lies the joy of the film. Don’t watch Infested expecting quality, watch it for the piece of shit it is and you just might find that it is pretty enjoyable, in a dufus sort of way.

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