Infini is a science fiction horror dealing with the attempted rescue of the lone survivor of a biological outbreak from a desolate off-world mining station. This film managed to surprise me because after reading the synopsis, I basically expected some cheesy zombies in space adventure with loads of gore and very little story but thankfully I was wrong.
I was very wrong actually. What I actually got was bucket loads of story, which, while not always managing to stay coherent does manage to be, almost always, interesting and thought provoking.
Directed by Shane Abbess, an Australian director with a pretty dedicated fan base, who was also the director for films such as Lucifer, Gabriel and Terminus. Obviously a fan of the one word, reasonably dark sounding titles, Shane’s Infini, was released in 2015.
Infini’s main star is Daniel McPherson (playing Whit Carmichael), who is a pretty big name, though not through films having starred in many television programmes for very long runs (The Bill, Neighbours, Wild Boys and The Shannara Chronicles) and also hosted many popular Australian television shows (The X Factor and Dancing With The Stars). He does a pretty good job of switching to the big screen here though.
Infini is set in the future and it is a pretty bleak affair. Presumably having raped mother earth of all her resources, we now have off world mining colonies and the technology to warp people from Earth to a destination in a matter of seconds. In fact, it is actually how some people work which is really interesting. They have a microchip or something implanted in them so you say goodbye to your wife and daughter, go to work, get warped to another planet, work there for the day, warp back and be home for dinner. It is this exact situation where we first meet Whit who is about to head off on one such day’s work. We do get to witness a little tension in his wife’s goodbye and realise that this warping process, known in the movie as slipstreaming, is not particularly safe.
Whit and a few buddies are next seen in a locker room getting ready for their slipstream and we are shown a little scene of the captain of this team, known only as chief, and one other being sat down so that Chief can talk to him about the other misreporting his jump times. Chief accuses the other of “stealing time” in what is a pretty serious conversation that seems to hint at some key factor of the film. Strangely though, the notion of time stealing is never mentioned again. I assume there was enough going on that they decided to not bother running with that plot but in hindsight, maybe they should have edited it out or something.
So we are now left with Whit and the Chief, who appears to be a good friend of Whit’s, hanging in the locker as they prepare to slipstream off to work when a speaker announces the return of another team and this is where all hell breaks loose. One important thing to know here is that this other team only left about 30 seconds ago but for them it could have been days as time on earth runs differently to time on other planets so, back to it, and with alarms going off, screams, shouting and gunfire, we learn that the returning team have been infected by something and are killing/infecting everyone around them.
Whit, one team mate and the Chief are still in the locker room when the building is put under lock down though the Chief gets hurt and is in a bad way. We then learn that lock down is basically a death sentence as they can’t allow any infection to pass into the general population. To avoid certain death, Chief advises his remaining team to make an illegal slipstream to anywhere else and then wait there to be picked up. The repercussions for jumping illegally are obviously not as severe as death and so Whit ends up on Infini, an off world mining colony though, unknown to him, Infini is also the origin of this infection.
Back on Earth, not long after these events but at a second slipstream installation, an elite team of search and rescue soldiers are put together with two objectives. The first of these is because a deranged worker from Infini has set a payload on course for Earth that will cause widespread death and destruction. They must stop that payload and secondly, if they can, rescue Whit. That team jump to Infini and start working on securing the payload by first restoring power.
This is where the film becomes very good because right now I expected that team to come across a load of space zombies and it to turn into a borefest and gorefest but the complete opposite happened.
It turns out that Infini is deserted and as the power comes back on, the only trace of anyone is the damaged colony and a couple of gruesome looking corpses. With power restored the team soon find Whit who has been here for a couple of days despite the event’s playing out in a few minutes on our planet. Whit explains that there is some sort of infection which is basically driving people crazy. When he arrived, there were a load of rampaging psycho’s running around killing each other but he managed to seal himself away and blow one side of the colony causing their deaths and a lot of the damage. As you can imagine, the infection does eventually hit Whit and the search and rescue team too and subtle chaos ensues as the team turn on each other and themselves.
Can Whit survive the infection and the team who were sent to save him? Should he even try to get home and risk bringing the infection with him?
The infection, which turns out to be a living organism, is an interesting thing in this movie. Looking sort of like jelly or an ooze, it is an alien life form but not in how the movies normally depict them. We learn over time that they are infecting for knowledge as they seek to evolve. They have the ability to heal and repair and, given enough contact with humankind, could reproduce a person wholly from nothing but despite this, we see a more vicious side as they have not evolved yet.
Instead they have come into contact with man for the first time and the first thing they learned was man’s primal instinct to fight and this is what causes the lunatic’s running around trying to kill each other but they start to change throughout the form, clearly reaching another level of evolution picked up from their latest encounters with Whit and the team.
One of my favourite things about this movie is how it looked and was filmed. Some of the camera work is really impressive with the most impressive bit being a conversation between Whit and one of the soldiers, Chester Huntington (played by Luke Ford), as they both fight the madness that is taking over them. The camera zooms and jumps from one to the other, distorting at times as the conversation gets repeated and questions get unanswered. It actually looks scarily insane and is a brilliant scene.
The actual locations are made brilliantly. They are dark and claustrophobic and really remind me of the colony that Ripley goes to on LV426 in the film Aliens. They are metallic, black, loads of cables and piping’s and small crawlspaces. One thing that doesn’t look good though are the future guns. I don’t know why I disliked them but they don’t look real at all and are out of place surrounded by so many other well made things.
The acting is great though it is mainly Daniel McPherson on screen a lot of the time. He does a good job at playing a man trying to fight off insanity and you can take him seriously.
Of everything though, the reason I really like this film is probably also the reason why many will hate it. The filmmakers do not conclusively explain everything to you, especially not the ending. To some that may leave you feeling a little confused and perhaps even accusing them of laziness but to others, me included, it allows you to make up your own mind and I like that. Looking online, the ending has even sparked off its own website where people discuss what they took from it and some of the ideas are brilliant and diverse.
The film made me think, made me look into it further, took me to a site where others were doing the same and I think that is really commendable.
In regards to horror, there are no jump scares and no volume increases here. It is a dark and gritty movie which keeps you guessing as you watch people descend into madness and try to destroy each other and everything around them and that is truly frightening as it is truly believable.
At the beginning of the film it looked like there were a few story points that were dropped by the end and that is the reason for a mark down but overall this is a very well-made, well-acted thought provoking movie which treats the watcher as an intelligent being and lets you read between the lines. In truth, not everyone likes that but it works for me and it may work for you too. It is definitely worth giving it a go.