Infection: The Invasion Begins (2009) – By Duane L. Martin

Deke Evans (Bryan Brewer) has spent the last ten years in jail for killing his step father for cheating on his mom.  Now he’s back in town, and no one’s happy to see him.  On top of that, he just generally picked a really bad time to come home.  See, what appeared to be a meteor has crashed in the hills near town.  Sheriff Bowen (Lochlyn Munro) is called in by one of the locals to check it out.  When he gets there, he tells the local to stay there and keep everyone away from the area while he calls in the proper authorities to deal with it.  Once he’s gone however, these slug-like creatures start crawling out of the rock, which as it turns out is actually an egg.  One of them crawls up the guys leg and gets into his body where it takes over and controls him.  He attacks two others and infects them by mouth to mouth transfer, and so on until almost the entire town is infected with these things.  To make matters worse, the army has sealed off the area, so they have almost no way out.  Almost…

Sheriff Bowen, Deke, Deputy Johnson (Kent Faulcon), Deke’s girlfriend Sarah Prescott (Kelly Pendygraft), Sarah’s grandfather Sy (Terry Becker), the local diner owner Jerry (David Jean Thomas) and Billy (Brian Guest), who’s also in love with Sarah, though it’s unrequited, have all managed to avoid infection and are hiding out at a large, ritzy house outside of town.  Thanks to the help of a science geek Sarah and Deke went to high school with, they discovered that the creatures are killed by high levels of caffeine in the system, so they make a stop on their way to the hideout to grab bottled water and caffeine pills to make a rudimentary antidote to kill the invaders.  They also decide to try to escape via an old mining road, which turned out to be a bad idea.

I could get into the story more here, but there’s not much point.  You should see the movie if you want the whole story.  That’s what it’s there for.  This my friends is a review, and it’s time I got to it.

Infection: The Invasion Begins has a LOT of similarities to the movie Slither in regards to the creatures and the way things happen.  A meteor hits the Earth, a creature comes out and infects one person, then that person infects more people and they all become zombies, many of whom are focused on infecting others while some are kept around the meteor egg thing (or in the case of Slither, the master infected guy).  Some retain more personality while others are more zombie-like.  Some show no outward signs of being infected at all.  Why there’s this discrepency there, I have no idea.  It’s never explained in the film.  Suffice it to say, a lot of material in this film, including the tapeworm creatures crawling on walls and slithering along the ground after people came right out of the Slither playbook.  So that part of the movie was rather unoriginal.  However, this film did have it’s own story that wasn’t derivative at all, so that was nice to see.

The story itself worked rather well and was propelled along by some great acting.  I was really impressed with the cast of this film.  Everyone did a great job with their roles.  The characters were three-dimensional and the relationships between them had a depth that was really great to see.

As for the technicals of the film, this is a really well made film in all respects…except for one, which I’ll get to in a second.  One thing I really liked about this film is that with the exception of the first scene, it’s extremely well paced.  This is a 95 minute film, but other than that first scene it doesn’t feel like it drags at all.  It moves along quite nicely, never giving you a chance to get bored with any one thing that’s going on.  The first scene was just a reporter walking through a house looking for a book while the opening credits ran.  That’s why it felt like it dragged.  As far as the other technicals are concerned, the camera shots were all nicely set up and well planned out, the lighting was great, even in the dark scenes and the sound was clear and audible.  All in all, this was a really well made film…except for that one thing.

The one thing of which I speak is the CGI work in the film, which was absolutely horrible.  It was super fake looking and really amateurish, which was disappointing in a movie that was otherwise a very high quality production.  I guess the budget just didn’t allow for better effects, but they really just seemed out of place in a movie of this caliber.  If this film could be re-mastered so to speak with higher quality, more realistic CGI work, it would be the final touch to an otherwise great film.

This film is fun, it’s exciting, it’s tense and it’s loaded with great performances and characters that have some depth to them.  It’s definitely worth your time to check it out.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.infectiontheinvasionbegins.com.