Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead
Plot: A father desperately tries to make his way to his son amidst the breakout of a rabies-like virus in Venezuela.
Review: Infection (Spanish Infección) is a zombie horror and the feature film debut of Venezuelan director Flavio Pedota. Released in 2019 it became Venezuela’s first ever zombie film and is the recipient of several independent film awards and nominations. However, the film was banned in Venezuela by the ruling government (which has been repeatedly denounced as a dictatorship). The film itself was shot in over 60 locations in Venezuela while having to content with not only a low budget but also overall shortages of necessities that the country was and still is experiencing. Despite these obstacles what we got was a surprisingly well-shot film that gave us the look and quality of a big budget production.
The story centers around a mutated version of the rabies virus that originated in Venezuela’s capital city Caracas and then spread rapidly, managing to bring the country to its knees in a short space of time. The only weak link that I noticed here was the lack of development in the story as to the origins of the rabies virus itself before it mutates with Patient Zero’s infection. But it is a small detail that can definitely be overlooked once you become amazed at how well the practical special effects were done. The first zombie reveal during the opening sequence, for example, is intense and heart-stopping.
Infection has all the traditional zombie horror tropes that you would normally expect to see and there is nothing new here except for one major theme that is snuck in so brilliantly. There is a political statement wrapped up within the confines of the horror plot itself and it can easily be overlooked if not for the end credits scene. But for anyone who has a personal connection to the country you can see all the signs and hints thrown in between the adrenaline-pumping scenes that show zombies running behind their victims at Usain Bolt speed. The lack of CGI is so refreshing, and it says something about how well the actors were able to move their bodies while in zombie mode. There’s some particularly excellent choreography and athleticism on display here.
The main protagonist is Doctor Adam Vargas played by Rubén Guevara. His story starts off by showing he recently lost his wife to cancer. The still-grieving doctor sends his only son Miguel (Luca de Lima) to stay with his grandparents (Adam’s in-laws) at their country house in the state of Aragua for one week. Now alone he is plagued by memories of his wife but keeps busy as the town’s doctor. Upon a visit to town he is greeted by utter chaos—zombies are running rampant and biting people and the Bolivarian police are shooting the infected down in the streets without hesitation. Adam manages to escape and quickly makes his way safely back home only to see his distressed neighbour Johnny (Leonidas Urbina) holding his wife Ana (Isabel Bertelsen) in his arms. Johnny tells Adam she was bitten by an old man in town and Ana very quickly begins to display the zombie-like symptoms.
Things all but go downhill until Adam’s old colleague Dr Carlos Nieves (Ronnie Nordenflycht) calls him to ask for help in identifying a cure for the virus. Adam quickly decides to make his way to collect Miguel first but zombies are now everywhere and they are attracted to the slightest sound. Now the film focuses on the journey to get to Miguel but along the way we are shown how the crisis seems to bring out the worst in people. You see people turn on each other and exploit one another which is a scary and an emotional representation of reality.
Shot with a 28 Days Later style, Infection has the ferociousness and terrifying intensity of a top-notch film presented in a humble package with an eye-opening political message. If you are a fan of indie horror this one would be a nice addition to your watch list.
Dark Alice’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
You can check out more great zombie content from outside Hollywood below:
REC is an Impeccable Found Footage Horror (31 Days of Horror Part 13)
Train to Busan is a Must-See for Horror Fans (31 Days of Horror Part 23)
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More