Infestation (film, 2009)
A DVD review from the very last issue of Death Ray.
More Kevin-Smith style glib-witted slacker comedy, this time with giant bugs. A fun diversion, and what more does a film need to be?
Shot in Bulgaria for pennies, this story of big bugs taking over the world on a slow weekday is more than the sum of its parts (mind you, Ray Wise is one of those parts, and he’s a big plus in this particular equation).
It’s played for laughs, like Tremors (someone come up with a new paradigm for comedy monster horror already!). Unlike Tremors, the funnies are all that sort of smart mouthed Clerks-style nerd nonsense issuing from lead Chris Marquette’s wiseass mouth. And his character Cooper is a wiseass, a workshy, immature, scruffy, dough-faced layabout. You’re supposed to root for him but you can’t but help think his dad (Wise) is right in castigating the shiftless little fucker for being so useless.
He shows his mettle in the end – though he can’t can the flippancy – by taking on (possibly alien?) insects who have, it seems, subjugated the world, and coming off best. There’s much that’s unbelievable here, and we’re not talking the bugs. Cooper’s romance with cute Sara (Brooke Nevin) stresses our credibility-bearing ganglions, as does Sara’s apparent unconcern with her own mother’s death. Some bits are pretty smart, though, like fragile weathergirl Cindy’s (Kinsey Packard) reaction to the whole situation, a fairly convincing portrayal of deep shock.
The effects are okay, pacing’s peppy and gags good. But the script’s seesawing between geek-wishfulment, Marquette’s stand-up career, 1950s giant ant horror and alien takeover plot only part works. It’s too grim a situation for anyone to maintain such a high quip rate, and far too grim for such romance as is depicted (in any case, Cooper is too damn annoying to pull even in a last-man-on-Earth style scenario).
In the movie, Cooper admits that he fantasised about such situations in the past, we think writer/director Kyle Rankin does too. Perhaps, someone should tell him there are easier ways to get laid than hoping some kind insectoid apocalypse will push a gal in your direction. Oh, and if you want to impress your dad, do something impressive. Slacker.
Extras: A Making of featurette, but we have not seen it. Guy Haley