SF, fantasy, horror, mystery website
illustrated SF and general satire
music reviews
action movie heroines
helicopters in movies and TV
VideoVista is published by PIGASUS Press

cast: Michiko Hada, Yoko Maki, Shirô Sano, Koichi Sato, and Masanobu Takashima

director: Masayuki Ochiai

98 minutes (18) 2006
widescreen ratio 16:9
Tartan Asia Extreme DVD Region 2 retail
[released 24 July]

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Andrew Hook
Infection (aka: Kansen) is an interesting addition to the J-horror theatre series of movies, but ultimately is undone by poor acting, flawed logic, and numerous twist endings which overlap in such a cavalier fashion that it seems the director couldn't care less how the film might finish so long as the viewer left the cinema with a puzzled expression on their face. This didn't need to be so, there was one decent, logical, twist within that bunch; and it's just a shame they didn't stick with it.

The movie is set in a private hospital that has had much of its funding pulled, causing supplies to be painfully low and the wage bill left unpaid. The hospital director has disappeared, the nurses are hardworking but mostly incompetent (one practices her injections using a comatose patient as a dummy), and the doctors struggle to do the rounds amongst patients of such mixed illnesses that it's a real potpourri of a place. When a burns patient wrapped in bandages dies after falling out of bed, going into cardiac arrest, and then being given the wrong injection, the staff take it upon themselves to cover up their malpractice for fear the hospital will close completely. Whilst they make that decision a new patient is admitted with a bizarre rash, and as his internal organs dissolve into goo, the doctors realise they have a possible cash cow on their hands and endeavour to hush the infection up, hoping to be the pioneers that solve the mystery. Within minutes, however, the situation is way out of their control.

There are some clever concepts here. Rather than a physical infection many of the events (and one of the false endings) suggests that the infection is of the mind. That the stress of working in such an environment coupled with that of accidentally killing the patient, is the catalyst which sets off the events which follow, as members of the staff experience delusions and psychotic behaviour. The theme that one must 'love the patients' is repeated throughout, with the symbolic death and mistreatment of the unloved patient at the heart of the psychosis. Yet we also have possible ghosts, maybe a monster, a struck-off paediatrician who wants to be a surgeon, a kid in a fox mask, and a pioneering doctor to contend with. These disparate strands, whilst admittedly entertaining in places, aren't sufficiently developed for us to care what happens to the characters. And in addition, the characters themselves are fairly one-dimensional, and therefore we are immune to their fate.

Despite the heaps of green goo and numerous ridiculous nurse deaths, there are some genuinely creepy moments that are augmented by an excellent horror score. The atmosphere within the hospital does convey a sensation of dread, with the generator packing up and omnipresent low-lighting in the building adding to the unease, and the lack of familiar faces means that any of the cast might be killed at any moment. If only the director had stuck to a fixed reason behind Infection then this might have been a solid addition to the genre, but ultimately the fact that there's so much to discuss here makes me realise that so little was tied up within the film.

Having said that, it isn't a movie to actively avoid. If you want some brainless, unintentionally humorous, slightly schlocky entertainment to watch over your popcorn and bottle of fizz then you could well do worse that this movie. Those seeking intelligent horror should, however, look elsewhere.

Did you find this review helpful? Any comments are always welcome!
Please support VideoVista, buy stuff online using these links - | | Send it | W.H. Smith

copyright © 2001 - 2006 VideoVista