I really like killer bee movies. Or more to the point, I really like the idea of killer bee movies, because I can’t actually think of one that was any good. You see, the big problem with killer bees on film is that they’re just too damned small – they don’t have what you’d call much of a threatening visual presence. You need a whole hoard (or whatever the correct term is) of them in order for them to be seen at all, & then it just comes off as some vague cloud-thing. Oooh, scary. Infested comes up with a novel idea of getting around this problem, by turning it into more of a bodysnatchers-type film, with the bee-things as parasites which take over the body of a human host.
The plot is quite simple. Or at least, it starts off that way, but by the conclusion there’s been a few cunning twists (well OK, one), & suddenly it doesn’t make very much sense. Ah well. A group of thirty-something’s who haven’t met for years are re-united when they attend the funeral of one of their group. After a desperately slow first 20 minutes getting to know this intensely irritating gang (including an unwarranted outbreak of obscenely bad dancing – something which is at least paid off later in one of the films most entertainingly daft moments), things suddenly go haywire with the Alien egg scene reworked with a woman looking in her handbag.
To add to this 80s reunion idiom, it’s great to see Gremlins star Zach Galligan – he may not be the worlds best actor, but he’s far from it’s worst & I can’t help but like the guy. The Power Rangers didn’t come along until a bit later, so I was bit old to get into them properly, but I do seem remember the Pink one having a certain effect at that particular time in my life. Why do I mention this? Because the Pink Power Ranger herself – aka Amy Jo Johnson leads the cast & makes for a strong & likeable (not to mention really rather hot) heroine. Other than that, they’re a pretty crap & irksome group of characters, deliberately (& often highly amusingly) performed that way, since that turns out to be the point somewhat.
And so it’s pretty typical cheap B-movie fare, filmed with film gags (one scene has the balls to reference both The Birds & Psycho at once), mixed with a nice edge in humour. It’s all set in one location, & features possibly the shittest big explosion I’ve ever seen. There is however, a real glee in the scenes of this annoying gang of The Big Chill-types getting their (sometimes pleasingly gooey) comeuppances. Amongst the highlights are a deliciously gruesome piece of home surgery on an infected leg wound, some lovely stabbings, a not-at-all gratuitous breast shot, & a neat piece of decapitation. Unfortunately, it also gets a little muddled, & whilst individual scenes make sense, when it’s all put together it doesn’t seem very logical at all. Then again, that hasn’t hurt the likes of The Big Sleep in attaining classic status. And if you’re looking for that great Killer Bee movie, you’re going to have to be searching for a little while longer.
Overall, Infested doesn’t really do very much which hasn’t been done before, but it mixes familiar elements together well enough to make for a passably entertaining diversion. It’s certainly not something I’d recommend actively seeking out, but if it crops up on late-night TV, or if everything else is out of the video shop, it’s a sometimes amusing, sometimes gruesome, sometimes tedious way of passing the time.
The UK DVD (R2/PAL) comes with a cover that seems to be trying to mimic Eight Legged Freaks (I much prefer the one on the US release), a decent anamorphic widescreen picture, & an OK Dolby Stereo Surround track. Extras-wise, we’re limited to just trailers.