Infection (Kansen) (2004)

0_Infection“Infection” is a moral tale in the vein of “The Telltale Heart”; a low rent basically abandoned hospital with a staff of merely five or six people find themselves in the throes of an epidemic one fateful night. An ambulance rushing a diseased man to safety struggles to find a hospital and leaves him at the doorstep of the hospital which refuses to admit him. “Infection” is an often bleak and grim moral horror story about the power of our conscience in spite of our loss of control under circumstances. Much like Poe’s story, “Infection” is the tale of our minds becoming our worst enemies and Mochiai focuses on stark almost flawless shades of green and red to convey the psyche turning on the characters, and express the sense of disgust within the low-rent hospital. Mochiai’s film is spooky and through disgusting and gruesome imagery, we learn of this disease which becomes a manifestation of their guilt, and their dirty deeds.

The vile inside of them comes out to finally become their undoing. “Infection” is graced with some top notch production qualities, and the stark grit of the hospital make this a morbid tale of murder. Fundamentally, “Infection” has the right idea of what its trying to accomplish, and it seems to be on the right track with many sequences, and plot elements that could add up to a truly great thriller, but in the end, I never felt as if this had been as good as it had the possibility to. “Infection” attempts to start its premise on slow build-up and then build tension, and then mount it up as the minutes pass, but there was never any such tension or any sort of suspense to be found here.

“Infection” when attempting to be tense and atmospheric is more slow and dull. Though, I could understand the commentary upon the health system, I never really found any such effect during any time of the film with a narrative that was less effective than it attempted to be. Masayuki Ochiai’s film is gorgeous to look at, but as far as story went it constantly performed consistent routines of predictability, repetition, and truly annoying plot devices that were either seen from miles away, or really just not all that effective when meant as surprising. “Infection” is really slow. Normally, I wouldn’t complain about a film with a slow pace unless its actually accomplishing something within that slow pace of gradual storytelling and building of atmosphere, but the build-up is just that.

A lot of build-up with no true pay off to the audience. And the attempted pay off that proceeds in the climax is weak, and we’re given three plot twists that explores the “it’s this, but maybe that, but then maybe this, or possibly that”, and I just couldn’t find any interest in what director Ochiai was trying to pull off. I couldn’t see what Ochiai was trying to pull off with the constant twists that presented so many red herrings that when the true revelation appeared the force of the impact was underwhelming. In spite of some amazing imagery and tight direction, “Infection” is sadly a misstep with a potentially great concept wasted on a very slow story, and plot twist after plot twist that felt as if the writer had no idea how to end it.