Director – Masayuki Ochiai
Cast – Michiko Hada, Mari Hoshino, Tae Kimura, Yoko Maki, Kaho Minami, Moro Morooka, Shiro Sano, Kôichi Satô, Masanobu Takashima
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Infection is a film I have had on my queue for a very long time, but always passed up because it just seemed to me like it would be the usual cliche Asian horror flick. Over time I did hear mostly good things about the film, so I had fairly high expectations finally going into the it, and sadly they were not met. Infection does give us a cool story and decent horror at times, but things never really get scary and every possible Asian horror cliche makes its way onto the flick, including the bad ones. Is this a bad film? No, but it fails to live up to potential, making it just a borderline-positive experience in the end.
A team of two doctors and three nurses get by day by day at a low-end hospital on its last leg due to budget concerns. When a simple yet catastrophic mistake causes the death of a severely burned patient with no listed family or visitors, the medical team agrees to falsify the medical report over fear of losing their jobs and other subsequent repercussions. When an emergency unit drops off a mysterious patient suffering from a terrible pathogen, the staff begins to contract the deadly infection, and realize that every bad deed comes with consequences.
I enjoy films that take place in hospitals, usually because the hospital setting is pretty damn creepy. Throw in a run-down hospital like the one in this film and the creep factor is raised to an even higher positive, and all that you need is a decent story and good direction to get things going. Infection has the overall storyline to make for a good horror experience, but once things get going we are thrown into a silly mess that should have never happened, which seems to be the case with a lot of Asian horror films these days.
It takes a little while before the conflict kicks in, but once the doctors make an evil pact to cover up a simple mistake that lead to the death of a longtime patient the horror kicks in and never relents. Those of us who enjoy horror involving science and biology should find some joy in the usage of the pathogen plaguing the hospital staff after completely destroying the patient brought in, however if you expect to come across a plausible reasoning behind the inception of the virus you may be dumbfounded when the pseudo-”twist” kicks in at the end. I loved the idea of the medical staff seemingly suffering the repercussions of horrible cover-up they committed just moments prior to the pathogenic onslaught, so those of you who enjoy vengeance themes should find some joy in that. The problems with the film’s story lie in just plain silliness at times, which made it uninteresting and had me wishing the film would just end already by the time the third act kicked in. Most of the characters provided were of little interest, and merely only served as persons to die and not persons who add to the story. I was however glad to see that we did not get any long-haired vengeful female ghosts thrown in.
Director Masayuki Ochiai(Shutter remake) did an OK job with this film, giving us great atmosphere involving the near-abandoned hospital and its many dark and shadowy corners. His execution of the horror was pretty good at times, however those times were very short-lived and consisted of mostly pop-up style scares, albeit they were good while they lasted. I enjoyed his decision to rely mostly on live-action FX and not CGI FX regarding the pathogen and the effects it has on the host, which included loads of green goo coming out of every orifice of the host’s body. Sadly, most of the cliches written in the story were aided by cliché execution, giving us a combo of SUCK that had me asking myself “didn’t I know better?”.
Overall, Infection is a decent watch that could have given much more in terms of good horror had it given us a more solid story and better execution of the numerous lame cliches thrown in. We do get good horror at times, but those times are few and far between for more than a borderline-positive rating.