Infection (2004)

Rating: B+

Dir: Masayuki Ochiai
Star: Koichi Sato, Shirô Sano, Masanobu Takashima, Michiko Hada
a.k.a. Kansen

This highly effective piece of Japanese horror cinema only derails in the last ten minutes, with what appears to be a total unwillingness to provide any kind of resolution that makes sense. Up until then, as long as you’re prepared to buy into the concept, this is remarkably effective. A decrepit hospital teeters on the edge of collapse: they’re almost out of equipment, staff are quitting, and a misunderstood command kills a patient, leading to a cover-up. So far, while it plays like a Japanese version of E.R., as such, it isn’t bad. Then, a new arrival is dropped off, with an unknown disease that liquefies the infected from the inside – but doesn’t kill them. The victim’s body vanishes, and a trail of green slime leads into the hospital air-ducts…

This is probably not for everyone, though I wonder about the nay-sayers when one of the IMDB comments was, “This movie was probably the worst movie I have ever seen. First off, you have to read the subtitles throughout the whole movie…” It’s a remarkably small hospital, with barely a handful of staff, about the same number of patients – and a flaky generator, whose mention had us rolling our eyes, knowing this would inevitably lead to the use of torches later on. Its closest cousin is probably The Kingdom, right down to the old woman wandering the corridors, who may have a better handle on what’s happening than anyone realises, though Lars Von Trier’s series had more time to work on building its scenario. Still, for the sheer number of creepy moments – even if though don’t always stand up to logical, rather than medical, post-mortems – this is hard to beat.