DVD Review: Infected (2008)

On DVD 5/19/09

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When a city official tipster phones in with a conspiracy theory involving "creatures," "other-worldly elements" and the highest levels of corruption, it seems like it's the type of story that should be handled by Ben (Gil Bellows), the journalist who runs the fictitious "Mysteries of Science" desk at The Boston Daily.

Instead, water department worker Taylor Lambert (Neil Napier) didn't waste his time contacting the news of the weird readers and instead moved directly to Ben's co-worker and (conveniently) Ben's ex-- the news-hungry reporter, Lisa (Maxim Roy).

However, when Lisa winds up meeting her source in person, she's stunned when the man who told her to wait in his office for proof soon coolly assassinates the mayor and a few other individuals in order to obtain a vial of blood from the neck of the mayor.

Fully convinced that the horrific "Boston Plague" sweeping through the setting of this Genius Products and RHI Entertainment release Infected is part of a governmental conspiracy involving a wealthy organic farmer and bottled vitamin water distributor-- once Taylor becomes a hunted man, the baton (or evidence) is passed along to the journalists Ben and Lisa as they find themselves paired up once again. Initially simply chasing the same story, soon the two begin running for their lives when they uncover more about the monstrous "infection" that is threatening to take over the rest of the planet.

Director Adam Weissman's Canadian filmed work begins impressively with stellar production values for what had originally been a small screen television movie. Indeed since it's heavily CGI driven, Infected's transfer to disc is so gorgeously vivid that it's logical to assume it was taken from a largely digital or possibly high definition source as the widescreen and technical aspects of the picture and sound of the DVD are first rate.

Additionally--although I worried it would be a silly little "Creature Feature" from the get-go-- I was immediately taken it by the film as something that felt more like a hybrid between a John Grisham novel and a Philip K. Dick story blended together on film and understood what drew talent such as the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated Blue Velvet star Isabella Rossellini to the work.

Unfortunately, my fascination with the initially action-packed conspiratorial tale began to dwindle until it ultimately flatlined in the final act as-- instead of the intense build up that had been established while trying to figure out how to survive this mutant plague and likewise expose the truth-- soon Infected just devolves into a gross-out B-movie slithery, slimy, creature fest.

For-- although the plot had begun to jump ship with the arrival of likable Breakfast Club star Judd Nelson's nuttier-than-a-fruticake nonsense spouting character-- it grows increasingly hokey to the point of awe that it would have been financed in the first place and furthermore that it required FOUR writers to construct the eighty-nine minute feature.

And despite the fact that I was impressed by the tactics applied in the beginning at both the script and editing level as fact-gathering and action goes hand-in-hand when a young woman tries to get Taylor the proof he needs, quickly it just becomes an endless parade of "yuck."

Never one to reveal major plot spoilers, I won't fill you in on the level to which the fate of the world rests in the hands of our journalists since soon brain power is usurped with guts and the plot doesn't matter at all when the opportunity to amp up the gore is utilized to the max in a revolting finale.

Likewise, when you piece together the whole story in the end (if you can), you'll realize that it's a work that's neither fit for the paper's "Mysteries of Science" or "News" desk. In fact, I'm still confused as to what it was trying to be. I do know however that it's a movie you should definitely avoid watching at night alone with the lights off.

All in all, an uneven work that wasn't sure if it wanted to go for creepy but smart or creepy and overwhelmingly stupid-- unfortunately, Infected ends up switching sides to the latter category roughly midway through the picture, never looking back as it goes into third rate science fiction autopilot. And while the "Creature Feature" CGI wizards had a blast creating the slithering mutant/human hybrids (including a surprise juvenile trick that gives new meaning to the phrase "boob job")-- unfortunately, we're never given the chance to have the same fun.