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FIRST LOOK

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Kyle Rankin
Cast:
Chris Marquette, Bru Muller, Brooke Nevin, Kinsey Packard, Linda Park, Efram Potelle, Dale R. Simonton
Writing Credits:
Kyle Rankin

Tagline:
You will be infected.

Synopsis:
When hapless cubicle-dweller Cooper (Chris Marquette) awakens strung up in a silky cocoon, he finds himself face to face with a swarm of enormous, man-eating insects intent on devouring the entire human race. It was his first day on the job, but as nervous as Cooper was coming in to work, he never imagined that things could get this bad. Breaking free of his slimy prison with no time to spare, Cooper races to unravel his coworkers before they're all sucked dry like human milkshakes. With a small battalion of terrified office drones under his command, the company's newest employee fights to find a safe haven, and smash as many creepy-crawly invaders as possible along the way. Perhaps in the frenzy of this mutant insect invasion, Cooper will finally summon the courage to break the ice with his pretty colleague Sarah as well.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 10/13/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Kyle Rankin
• Trailers


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Infestation (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 15, 2009)

For a comedic take on horror, we head to 2009ís Infestation. 20-something slacker Cooper (Chris Marquette) toils at an office job where he works harder to avoid duties than to fulfill them. Before he can be fired, though, something strange happens: giant, human-devouring bugs wrap him and his co-workers in cocoons and plans to ingest them.

Cooper escapes from his web and helps release others. His boss Maureen (Deborah Geffner) quickly gets abducted by the insects, but Cooper teams up with her hard-edged daughter Sara (Brooke Nevin) to combat the critters. They find others as well and attempt to fend off this creepy invasion.

When I went into Infestation, for some reason I expected it to be more of a Shaun of the Dead thing. It didnít take me long to see the obvious parallels with Tremors or Arachnaphobia, though the office connection gives it different set-up than the more remote locations of those flicks.

All of these stem from the same nutty 50s monster movie origins, though, and they offer broad action in that vein. Infestation also exhibits other obvious influences. You wonít have to look hard to find some Thing, a little Fly, a bit of Body Snatchers and a whole lot of Aliens.

While it wears its influences on its sleeve, that doesnít mean Infestation doesnít provide creepy fun, however. Yeah, it follows the standard genre conventions, and the characters arenít exactly three-dimensional. Heck, Iím not even sure they qualify as two-dimensional. Cooper is the standard glib slacker, while Sarahís the tough girl who leads the charge. The others exist as minor personalities meant mainly to add to the body count.

And I donít really care. Infestation knows what kind of movie it is and what it wants to be: semi-comedic action and thrills. Although the flick falls far short of the peaks achieved by its inspirations, it still manages to offer an enjoyable experience. Marquette provides a good take on the usual unlikely hero, and Nevin is both sexy and tough as Sara. Best of all, Ray Wise tosses in a delightfully gruff turn as Cooperís dad.

Infestation isnít a movie to which youíll want to apply a lot of scrutiny. Effects leave a lot to be desired, and the sequel-tempted ending isnít as clever as it wants to be. Nonetheless, the film is usually a brainless good time. Thatís all it wants to be, and it achieves its modest goals.


The DVD Grades: Picture C-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Infestation appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a mediocre transfer at best.

Sharpness came with good and bad aspects. A fair number of shots exhibited positive delineation and accuracy, but plenty of others suffered from overt flaws. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and in terms of source flaws, I noticed nothing significant. I did see mild edge enhancement, and the transfer exhibited light mosquito noise.

Colors seemed bland, though much of that was by design. The movie didnít boast a dynamic palette, as it usually stayed with quiet earthy tones. These came across as somewhat dull, but they were acceptable within their stylistic limitations. Blacks were decent, but shadows offered another weakness, as low-light shots were rather thick and muddy. I saw enough positives to boost this to a ďCď, but donít expect memorable visuals.

At least the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Infestation worked better. While not a super-active affair, the soundfield opened up the spectrum in a satisfying way when necessary. In particular, action sequences offered good range and breadth, as they showed nice movement. These elements could be a bit speaker-specific at times, but they still spread around the room pretty well, and they added life to the proceedings.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech came across as reasonably natural and distinctive, and I noticed no edginess or other flaws. Music showed decent clarity and definition, while effects seemed accurate and full. This wasnít a great track, but it was more than satisfactory.

Only one significant supplement appears here: an audio commentary from writer/director Kyle Rankin. He discusses cast and performances, sets and locations, story and editing, changes from the script, different effects and makeup, and various anecdotes.

I canít recall the last time I heard a commentary that offered such an honest take on a filmís flaws. Sure, Rankin also talks about the many aspects of Infestation that he loves, but he throws out lots of notes about mistakes he made and things heíd like to change. He also offers quite a few funny stories; heck, the guy even mentions that he may well have slept with a Bulgarian prostitute during the shoot! This is a consistently informative and entertaining chat.

The DVD opens with some ads. We get clips for Itís Alive (2008), Monster, Command Performance and Into Temptation. These also appear in the ďPreviewsĒ area along with the trailer for Infestation.

While far from the most inventive monster movie, Infestation still works. It wears its influences on its sleeve but nonetheless manages to achieve a good level of fun and action. The DVD provides mediocre visuals along with positive audio and an excellent audio commentary. This is an entertaining horror/action diversion.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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