INFECTED aka CONTAINMENT

6 out of 10

Release Date: 11th September 2015

Director: Neil McEnery-West

Cast: Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Andrew Leung, William Postlethwaite, Gabriel Senior with Pippa Nixon and Louise Brealey

Writer: Neil McEnery-West & David Lemon

Trailer: INFECTED

Review by Matt ‘Botchelism’ Usher below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Lee Ross: I.D.2, Dusty & Me, Dawn of the Planet of The Apes, Locke (voice), Centurion, Eastenders (TV), Goal, Metroland, Rogue Trader, I.D., Secrets and Lies,  Hard Men, Press Gang (TV)
  • Sheila Reid: Benidorm (TV), The Bad Education Movie, Hush,The Winter Guest
  • Andrew Leung: Lilting, The List
  • Gabriel Senior: Desert Dancer
  • Pippa Nixon: Cuffs (TV)
  • Louise Brealey: Sherlock (TV), Ripper Street (TV), Casualty (TV)
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One thought on “INFECTED aka CONTAINMENT

  1. Review by Matt Usher

    The residents of a dreary tower block awake one morning to find themselves hermetically sealed into their respective flats as there’s some sort of mysterious (possibly medical) emergency going on but no-one in authority will explain what’s happening, partly because they’re not sure themselves (but it probably has something to do with a killer insect which is on the loose and spreading certain and almost instantaneous death), so the residents get bolshie and try absolutely everything in their power to escape except break the windows. Panic, death, suspicion and tears ensue.

    Our guide in this slightly Kafkaesque journey (really it should have been a lot more Kafkaesque than it is) (in fact it’s barely Kafkaesque at all, which seems a bit of a missed opportunity) (always go Kafkaesque if you can – that’s my advice – it’ll always get you brownie points with reviewers) is Lee Ross (yay for Lee Ross!), who plays an artist who is commercially unsuccessful, and (from what we see of his work) aesthetically bankrupt. He’s also an estranged father who, on the morning in question, has slept in and is late for a court appointment (something to do with access to his son/daughter/whichever it was). But our moderately alpha male’s tardiness has been caused by the failure of his mains-powered alarm clock (he’d have got up on time if he’d had a battery-operated one) (like mine, though alas its head has fallen off, which is a bit macabre as the head in question belonged to popular plasticine pooch Gromit) as the electricity supply has been cut off, along with all communications with the outside world. The only person he can contact is his drunk old racist neighbour (Sheila Reid – yay for her!) as the walls are quite thin so they have a bit of a chat. The walls become even thinner when someone knocks a hole in one of them. Who has done this? Well, every film about a motley crew has (by law) to include a psycho, so here comes Andrew Leung (best known as a misguided pervert scientist in an episode of Doctor Who) as a maniac with a vulnerable kid brother. Also popping along are a boring sensible but potentially useful person (therefore both a nurse and a woman) (Louise Brealey – yay for her – but a bit out of sorts almost as if she thought she’d get to play one of the interesting characters) and her partner, the inevitable (and annoyingly right in several regards) conspiracy theorist from hell.

    Obviously they eventually get whittled down in number, mostly through their own stupidity. Along the way they take a hostage, kill a doctor and have some punch-ups with other groups of angry residents. And there’s lots of simmering tensions within the group, as well as ‘unexpected’ bonding, though not too much in the way of tedious revelations.

    The moral of the tale? Trust the government. But also (should anyone from the government watch the film): keep the people informed. If these two attitudes prevailed then all the unpleasantness shown in this quite good but fairly bland film could have been avoided.

    Of course the underlying theme of this (and a lot of films at the moment – TANK 432 works on a similar premise and I’ll be reviewing that (unfavourably) soon) is that there is a fundamental and dangerous dividing line between authority and the people. Which is how charlatans (Trump, Farage) and fools (Corbyn) are getting so much bizarre adulation, because they’re pretending to chip away at the façade of the multi-national secret governments which are hiding their evil 9/11 Diana conspiracies whereas the maverick men of the people are actually worse than the dull technocrats who everyone hates, because at least the technocrats are trying to do their job whilst Boris and the rest deliberately stoke dissatisfaction and despair for their own purposes. So it’s no surprise that in INFECTED no-one trusts anybody. The film-makers follow a small group of residents, who at best dislike and at worst despise each other, and who, as a group, distrust all the other groups who are in the same situation. And all these groups distrust the orange-suited authorities, who are of necessity pursuing a divide and rule policy for everyone’s mutual benefit. But of course no-one sees it like that. Maybe they should have explained. But who would have believed them? What I can’t work out is what the film-makers think of all this. They seem to be on the side of the idiot residents though the film does eventually acknowledge that maybe the trained medical teams were indeed trying to help people.

    INFECTED might have been better if it had looked at its own theme and expanded on it (though this would have required more actors and a longer running time and more money): it’s basically about people fighting against an unknown problem. Everyone is in the same situation. The film follows one group, and assumes along with the members of the group, that everyone else is hostile/mad/evil/stupid. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to follow two separate groups, each with the same goal (i.e. safety) which, despite everyone’s best intentions, end up fighting each other?

    I can’t work out if INFECTED got muddled along the way or if it’s meant to be this way. As a film about some people trying to get out of a scrape it just doesn’t work: you simply wonder why they don’t wait for someone to pop an explanation through their letterboxes and give them vaccines; if the film’s meant to be about the breakdown of trust then it really needed to boost the other side’s point of view; and if it’s meant to be a taut escape thriller, well, it isn’t. So in the end we’re left with a potentially good film which doesn’t do anything distinctive. It’s not bad as such, just underpowered and under-conceived. And it doesn’t help that there are lots of other tower block films (HIGH RISE, TOWERBLOCK, COMEDOWN, CITADEL) around to clutter the view.

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