Horror Movie Review: Infection/感染 (2004)

Infection (感染) is a Japanese horror film directed by Masayuki Ochiai, releasing in 2004. After seeing Ringu (1998) at a somewhat tender age, I developed a bit of a J-horror obsession. I’d seek out any film that was distributed by “Tartan Asia Extreme” as this was usually the seal of approval that I was in for something great. One such movie was the one I am reviewing now, Infection.

The film is about a run-down hospital where a doctor’s mistake unwittingly creates horrific consequences for the staff at the hospital.

Dr. Akiba refuses to admit a patient with a strange black rash and is alerted to a serious crisis in Room 3 where a burn victim dies, having apparently been given the wrong drug. Akiba, Dr. Uozumi, and four nurses decide to cover up the cause of death and move the body to an unused room. The head nurse then discovers that the patient that Akiba previously refused to admit has been left in the hallway and informs him.

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However, when Akiba goes to check, he discovers that Doctor Akai had taken the patient and decides to study his symptoms. Although he is still alive, the patient’s body mass is liquefying into green goo. Not knowing how much Akai knows about the events in Room 3, Akiba and the others reluctantly agree to help with the examination but when they return to the patient’s room, they find he has vanished and the head nurse unconscious.

The head nurse awakens and begins acting strangely while she starts to bleed green goo from both her ears and eyes. The doctors realise they are at risk of infection and decide to put her on a bed and cover her with plastic in an attempt to limit the infection’s spread. Can they halt the spread of the infection? Watch and find out.

Firstly, I really like the initial setup in Infection. It’s so ripe for quality horror possibilities and on the whole, characters are established nicely. I mean, there are certainly a few secondary characters that muddle things with fairly pointless sub-plots. There’s a storyline about an ex-paediatrician who wants to be an ER doctor but is pushed back by another doctor. He is caught doing sutures on someone and is blasted for this. For the rest of the film he goes into another room and practices sutures to prove he can do it. Ultimately, it’s pointless and leads nowhere which can be said about a few other sub-plots as well.

The one thing that Infection does incredibly well is building tension. The anticipation surrounding the horrific things that the characters witness is expertly done. It’s all about the acting here as you rarely see much but its super effective. Unfortunately, at some point there needs to be a payoff. I’m usually an advocate for not showing much when it comes to monsters but here we really needed to see something. It just does such a great job at selling it and then nothing. Of course, there are other scary moments that are good but just not the one I hoped for.

This is a film that is designed to screw with your mind in the same ways that the characters having done to them. That’s good because it leaves you in a somewhat confused state as to what any of it really meant. Was it a dream? Is this all just some kind of guilt based metaphor? Social commentary on the state of the medical system at the time? Is there really a monster at all? Who knows, possibly all of the above? Regardless, this lack of clear understanding does the film no favours. Yes, it makes you think which is good but sometimes that just isn’t what you want from a movie.

Also, it’s worth noting that the characters make a lot of really dumb choices when it comes to dealing with the infection. They don’t make any real effort to contain it and do nothing to protect themselves from contracting it. I would once again like to highlight the acting though because it is some really top quality stuff.

Overall, Infection will be a polarizing film amongst those that have seen it. Still, it’s absolutely worth a watch to decide for yourself.




Author

  • Liam Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Typical 90s-00s kid; raised on Pokémon, Final Fantasy & the Attitude Era. In fact, that makes up about 99% of my personality. The remaining 1% is dedicated to my inner rage for people who still don’t understand the ending of Lost or those that enjoyed the Game of Thrones final season. Find me on GBHBL where I’ll most likely be reviewing horror movies or games. Also, see me on our YouTube channel!

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