Director: Shane Abbess
Cast: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth
Synopsis: An elite ‘search and rescue’ team transport onto an off-world mining-facility to rescue Whit Carmichael, the lone survivor of a biological outbreak.
We’re in the 23rd Century in Shane Abbess’s Infini, and a mighty confusing time it is too – or at least, the first 20 minutes of the movie are. I surely would have found watching Infini a much more rewarding experience if Abbess’s script had taken a little more care in setting up its situation and characters and spent less time observing the physical and psychological breakdown of an unlucky ‘search and rescue’ team infected by an alien ‘primordial ooze’ on a distant planet. As it is, we have so much information thrown at us in a short space of time that it’s impossible to absorb it all.
Most of the movie takes place in the confines of a labyrinthine mining station on Infini, an inhospitable mining planet which, humanity has realised (just a little too late), is in fact a living organism. The crack team has been sent to deactivate a contaminated payload headed for Earth and to rescue Whit Carmichael (Daniel MacPherson), the only known survivor of the virus which has already driven the members of the previous search-and-rescue team violently insane. They’re the usual mixed bunch, but we’re given very little time to get to know them before they each succumb to the virus and the film devotes most of its attention to the frightened and exhausted Carmichael’s attempts to avoid becoming infected himself and to somehow find a way back home to his wife and unborn baby. One of the problems he has is that, before they eventually grow increasingly prone to erratic behaviour and violent fits of rage, the victims retain too much of their humanity for him to terminate them. And Carmichael’s no Ripley, anyway; he originally wanted to be a computer programmer, and is more likely to watch from his hiding place as one victim beats another to death than risk his life by intervening.
So while the plot is familiar, it does make a few tentative attempts to deviate from the routine, and although the confusing opening scenes are unsettling for the viewer, Infini does eventually begin to make some kind of sense. Few of the cast manage to make any real impression, though, simply because most of them are only called upon to bellow invectives at the luckless Carmichael before meeting their fate, although, with his cries of ‘medic!’, Luke Ford at least finds some grim humour in his character’s plight.
Infini is one of those intense films that has a trailer-friendly shot in every scene, but sadly that just means that it probably makes a better trailer than a movie. We always feel as if we’re playing catch up with the plot, and are never entirely sure we’ve got it right, and a deliberately ambiguous ending only muddies the water further. Abbess certainly shows promise, though, both as a writer and a director – but, like the primordial ooze on planet Infini, he’s just not quite the finished article yet.
(Reviewed 5th October 2015)