When tragic circumstances bring five old friends back to their hometown, revisiting their favorite childhood vacation home seems like a great way to mourn the recent death in their lives. None of them, however, are privy to the fact that a mysterious colony of mutant flies have been breeding in the house during their long absence. Within hours of their arrival, the reunited friends become ill-fated hosts for the flies reproductive cycle -- once the eggs have been laid within their bodies, hope for survival is nil.
Directed by: Josh Olson
. Starring: Zach Galligan
, Lisa Ann Hadley
, Daniel Jenkins
, Amy Jo Johnson
, Nahanni Johnstone
, Robert Duncan McNeill
, Jack Mulcahy
, David Packer
, Camilla Overbye Roos
, Tuc Watkins
, Mark Margolis
. Music by: Rodney Whittenberg
The straight-to-DVD film "Infested" is bad in ways that should make it required viewing in film schools where other beginners could learn from it. The mistakes propagated by first-time writerdirector Josh Olsen are fixable given experience and study and fledgling filmmakers would do well to avoid these errors.
Directors who steal directly from good films often claim that their film is a homage. Occasionally, this is true. More often, it is just plagiarism.
Writers who fail to convince an audience to suspend disbelief often claim that their script is merely taking a satiric swipe at the conventions of the genre. More often, it is just that the writer is handling the genre conventions badly.
"Infested" begins at the funeral of a 30-something and moves quickly to the only other location in the film, a house out in the middle of nowhere somewhere on Long Island. For an interminable 20 minutes or so the cast banters back and forth in an awkward montage set to 80s music which could be seen as a homage to "The Big Chill" except that "The Big Chill" had interesting conversation against a backdrop of great music. To attempt a homage to "The Big Chill," you need memorable dialog. Instead, we get such patently obvious and sub-par exchanges as this: Mindy: (To a grown man named Warren) "Look at that a. Hmmm. I hate to see you leave but I still love to watch you go." Carl: "Geez. Mindy. Subtle, much?" Warren: Hey, Mindy, how you doing'?" Mindy: "Good. Do you know you are even hotter than you were back then." Warren: "Thank you." Carl: "So what am I? Chopped liver?" Warren: "You look surprisingly good for a married man, Carl." Carl: "You're a shameless hussy. You know that, right?" Mindy: "Uh-huh. What are you going to do about it?"
This dialog is especially inane because it's not the way a woman talks; it's the way a film school geek hanging with his buds at Starbucks wishes a woman would talk.
Bob, played by Jack Mulcahy who got his start in the two classic films, Porky's and Porky's II: The Next Day, lucks out. He gets to drive off the picture for about an hour, a deal no doubt set up by his agent. His motivation? He doesn't like the other people in the house. Talking aloud to himself (another beginning writer's mistake) as he drives away in his SUV, he clarifies this point for the audience. "They're a bunch of fing hypocrites. Bunch of fing people with all this bullshit going on and... F! F!"
Finally, a good half-hour into the film, something actually happens. Mindy (played by Nahanni Johnstone who was a successful model in Europe before moving to New York to study acting.) comes out of the water wearing shorts but naked from the waist up. She proves that not all actresses have surgically-enhanced breasts, Any reason for this nudity? Nope. Just that the horny screenwriter always wanted to see a women come out of the water with naked breasts. Nothing to do with the plot. She puts her skimpy top back on. (The skimpy top she could have worn into the water since she got her shorts wet anyhow.)
In rather rapid succession, we get a neck slashed open, a severed head, a crow bar impaling, nasty razor blade surgery on a leg, a body cut in half, a self-inflicted neck crack, and a burned face! Sadly, the special effects (which often resemble Raisinettes flying at the audience) ARE a homage; back to the day when such effects were done badly.
Another "lonely screenwriter" addition to the script is the fact that one woman decides (in the middle of the most horrible zombie attack in recent memory) to go upstairs and take a shower. Take a shower! Why? So the director can attempt a cross-reference to both Hitchcock's "The Birds" and "Psycho" with none of the style of either of those films. Oh yeah, and so he can get another woman to be naked.
Olsen's shortcomings as a writer were also apparent in his over-dependence on a popular four letter word and the fact that he assigned such odd assemblages as "Calm the f down!" to three different characters at three different times.
The illogic of the screenplay also permitted the rapidly-dwindling cast to come to the conclusion that the zombies are scared of light even though they are standing in bright sunlight and then that they are killed by a particular song from the 80s.
After continuing efforts to scare off the zombies (even using - I'm not making this up - torches, at one point) fail to work, even Jesse, (played by Amy Jo Johnson, the former Pink Ranger of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) finds it difficult to keep a straight face while discovering the explanation for the horde of bugs who haven't had a decent job since Irwin Allen's awful 1978 bomb, "The Swarm."
"Infested" is a lousy film for a lot of reasons but it's difficult to blame the cast who work gamely to try to make the dialog sound real.
One bright spot in the film is Robert Duncan McNeill (Eric) a handsome, very together blue-eyed blonde who probably managed to get through this crap because he has a secure career as a director of episodic TV (Star Trek: Voyager, Dawson's Creek, Enterprise and Everwood). The other bright spot was Camilla Overbye Roos (Robin) who played Helga Dahl in one of the most successful films of all time, "Titanic." No doubt, being in "Infested" gave her a very familiar sinking feeling of impending doom.
Review by TheLaryCrews from the Internet Movie Database.