Reviewed by Evil Andy
Starring Diane Gaeta, Deborah Geffner, VJ Kewl, Chris Marquette, Bru Muller, Ray Wise
Directed Kyle Rankin
This only works if you’re at least thirty, but imagine it’s 1988, and you’re pedaling to the video store to pick up a tape to watch on Friday night. Your parents are out for dinner, and you know that if you’re lucky, and Joey the ‘cool’ video store clerk is working, that he’ll rent you an R-rated movie, as long as you give him the smokes you stole from your parents for just this purpose. If it was that night, and the movie you picked up was Infestation, that kid version of yourself would be really, really satisfied with his selection. Your ability to enjoy Infestation is going to be directly linked with how much you can channel that VHS loving horror hound of your youth.
Infestation tells the story of Cooper (Chris Marquette), a take it easy kind of guy who’d rather bartend in Mexico for a few months than get a full time job. His ex-Military father (Ray Wise) kickstarts his “career” by getting him a gig answering telephones, and on the day the world ends, Cooper’s about to get fired. Turns out there are worse things than losing a crappy telemarketing job, namely, hordes of giant scuttling cockroaches with lobster-like pincers, and flying, hornet like insects with stingers like butcher knives, filled with venom that turns people into zombie-insect hybrids. Is your inner twelve year old excited yet?
Before we go any further, we have to get one thing out of the way. Chris Marquette has a freakish resemblance to Jon Cusack. The photo below gives you some idea of the physical resemblance, but it’s the mannerisms, and the dry, often failed jokes, and ironic humor coming through in the writing that really sell the similarities between the two actors.
But Cusack channeling aside, the late 80’s early 90’s are very much on display here. The film reminds me of Tremors, though it’s been so long since I’ve seen that film that I really have no idea if the comparison is any good. What’s more important is that there’s a feeling to the monster movies of that period that is almost perfectly captured by Infestation. The violence is pre-torture porn, more focused on goo than gore. For the most part there’s a lightness to the movie that pervades even the somewhat less successful dark moments that the film occasionally springs on the audience. Ray Wise is particularly funny as Cooper’s overbearing Dad. With advice like “Let me tell you something, son … YOU’RE AN IDIOT”, Ray Wise proves himself once again as the pinnacle of movie parenting, especially when he’s invading the insect nest and strapping C4 to giant bugs.
The one place Infestation is nothing like the horror movies of the 80’s is in terms of creature design. The critters are all black and pretty bland in their design. The fact that they’re almost always CGI is also a real bummer, since otherwise the movie seems to be made by longtime horror fans who you’d think would appreciate rubber over pixels.
Throw in a delightfully gratuitous boob shot that comes totally out of left field, a pleasant and also charmingly 80’s romantic comedy subplot, and a nest infestation finale culminating in a large explosion, and you ought to have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get if you and your inner adolescent pick up Infestation. Too bad it’s not coming out on VHS.
3 out of 5
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