Friday, April 24, 2015

Infini Offers an Eternal Message: A Movie Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Vertical Entertainment.

*there are spoilers here. It would be best if viewers saw the film before reading this review.

Director: Shane Abbess.

Writers: Shane Abbess and Brian Cachia.

Cast: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Bren Foster, Luke Ford and Dwaine Stevenson.

Infini is a science fiction horror feature. In the bloody vein of Event Horizon (1997), the film takes place on a distant mining facility. Here, an ancient organism is spreading through a vulnerable crew. The film stars Daniel MacPherson as the protagonist, Whit Carmichael. Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth and Bren Foster also star. Truly remarkable, the film offers a good deal of conflict and violent sequences as exposure to a virus wreaks havoc on everyone's psychology. The film also offers an ambivalent ending, but this viewer has a dark interpretation of the final scenes. Infini even offers a social message, in the film; family matters. And, this title is one that should be seen by large audiences.

The story begins with a west-coast based rescue team. This team can slipstream, or travel all over the universe, in seconds. But, things go wrong when one team comes back, with an infection. Carmichael escapes infection by illegally transporting to a far off mining facility, which is also the source of the infection. A second team, from the east-coast, is sent to investigate the outbreak, but they also find themselves infected. Chaos reigns through much of the film as the crew members try to fight off a parasite, which is burrowing into their heart, body and minds.

The film's central conflict is an alien versus human one. Carmichael, who initially appears immune to the infection, does his best to fight off the parasite. He slowly begins to lose hold on his thoughts and behaviours, while trying to find a cure to the infection, or an inhibitor. There is little he can do. And, the de-evolution of Carmichael's psychology can be seen in a series of surreal sequences. In one scene, Carmichael and Chester (Luke Ford) are self-aware that they are infected. And over time, they begin to lose their grip on reality and the two men become less able to fight the parasite within. The dialogue "we ain't gonna do shit together!" shows how Chester is succumbing to the parasite and giving up. Still, Carmichael struggles onwards, despite the loss of Chester, until the final few scenes. An enemy within is difficult to overcome.

Infini asks a question and answers it. The question is: what is life? Characters ask this question in a couple of scenes. Carmichael replies: "everything," in one snippet. But, the film's answer to the question, is slightly different. Over time, it becomes apparent that the answer is: family. Several of the characters talk of their children. Menzies (Harry Pavlidis) states: "Daddy loves you all the way to the Milky Way," in reference to his daughter and Carmichael's earlier dialogue is "I promised my wife I would be home for dinner." Both characters are risking life and limb, on a far away rock, for the love of family. Also, Chester mentions his children and of sending "a message in a bottle," to them. The reason these characters face and overcome such dangerous situations is to protect and care for their families. Films rarely offer social messages and it is good to find one here.

The ending can be interpreted in a couple of ways, but his this viewer believes in a darker one. In a final series of scenes, Carmichael gives a monologue through a microphone. He states that the alien parasite has lost and how it has chosen the worst in humanity: hatred, violence and conflict. Shortly thereafter, he commits suicide. But, the parasite will not let him go. Instead, it regrows a new Carmichael, one which is a combination of Carmichael's tissue and the parasite's own. An earlier scene explains how the parasite is able to take over or create a new organism, with the host's own tissue "it will replicate tissue and organs over time (Carmichael)." The final scenes show the search and rescue team risen from the dead. Brand new, the characters have little memory of their invasion and takeover. They then take the parasite with them to Earth. In one scene, the camera focuses on Carmichael's hand, when he touches his wife; the infection is being passed in this sequence, in this viewer's opinion. In an earlier scene, the aliens show themselves to the crew, but they do not react in fright, nor terror. Instead, it is business as usual as if the team is in a conspiracy with the aliens. It is not directly shown, but this watcher believes that the infection is set to spread on Earth and has already been spread to Carmichael's wife, Lisa (Tess Haubrich).

There is another way to interpret the ending, but viewers can decide for themselves what happens, when the film releases May 8th, 2015. On this date, Infini will be available through Video-on-demand. And, this viewer hopes that the film finds a wide audience as this is one of the best films to be released this year. Tense and story-driven, this film does what many other cannot: tell a deep, unsettling tale. Infini is often dark and sometimes violent, which makes the film that much more exciting. Infini is a definite must-see, with events taking place in dangerous settings, against an unrelenting and body burrowing enemy.

Overall: 8 out of 10 (well created settings and costumes, decent acting, a great message).

*the alternate interpretation of the ending involves the aliens hearing and accepting Carmichael's line: "we could have worked together."

A trailer for the film is available here:

An Infini Trailer on 28DLA

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