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3.7 out of 5 stars15
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Japanese horror films truly are a different breed. Infection, from director Masayuki Ochiai, is one humdinger of a creepfest that doesn't spare the gore yet never descends to the level of a hack-and-slash effort. Its vibrantly dark cinematography and appropriately unsettling music provide the background for a veritable orgy of suspenseful horror as its characters' psychological overloads, helped along by a mysterious catalyst, give birth to something exceedingly ugly and quite often disgusting. In a sense, the film is somewhat confusing, in that it never exactly spells out the source of the infection or even the absolute nature of it, but I didn't feel the disappointment some viewers might at the ending.
Central Hospital is in trouble. It's dangerously understaffed, no one has been paid, the director has disappeared, patients are coming to harm because no one is there in a timely fashion to see to their needs, supplies are dangerously low, doctors and nurses are putting in way too many hours to carry the load, etc. Lest you think things could get any worse, well, they most certainly do. It all starts when a mistake leads to the death of a patient. With their backs already to the wall thanks to the deteriorating state of the hospital, the doctors and nurses involved decide to cover up the real cause of death - it was a severe burn victim with no real family, after all. There is to be one more patient admitted to the hospital, however, one literally dumped on them by paramedics. John Doe has the mother of all infections, one that liquefies the internal organs and basically causes the victim to start dropping gooey gobs of green nastiness all over the place. One extremely unemotional doctor, who may or may not have knowledge of the little cover-up so recently planned upstairs, insists on treating the patient, trying to figure out the new pathogen, and thus gaining medical kudos for the effort. Everyone else is just revolted by the poor excuse of former humanity spreading his nasty green goodness all over the floor.
Well, he of the liquefying organs sort of disappears, and the hospital crew enacts a search for their green and gloppy charge. It soon becomes clear, however that - whatever the patient had - it is quite infectious. Rather than call in the health department, they keep on keeping on under the direction of the emotionless pioneer (who I like to call Dr. Gung Ho). Needless to say, they start dropping like flies - well, not like flies, really, as they tend to do something really nasty such as burn their own hands off before commencing with gooey expectorations of the nastiest sort. I'm not sure why the hospital is almost completely dark throughout the film, but it makes for a most creepy of settings, and characters have the disarming tendency of sneaking up quietly behind one another out of the frame. It's really hard to describe the sort of horror that builds up as characters develop the infection, but it's more than capable of spooking and quite possibly disgusting you.
The ending leaves some questions unanswered and may be something of a stretch for some viewers. Even if you find disappointment in the final minutes, though, there is more than enough gory goodness to keep you entertained up to that point. Infection (aka Kansen) is apparently the first film in the J-Horror Theatre series, which apparently aims to shock audiences and teach them the fine art of suspenseful dread. The Japanese are masters at creating atmospheres of indelible horror, and one can only hope that future movies in the series can succeed half as well at Infection in terms of going for the jugular of horror fans everywhere.
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2007
Another superb horror film from Japan, 'Infection' is jam-packed with tension and unease, making it a worthy addition to any Asian horror fan's DVD collection.

When a highly contagious patient is rushed to the ER ward of an understaffed and overwhelmed hospital, the skeleton staff of doctors and nurses find themselves at the mercy of a mysterious and putrefying virus that decays human beings from the inside out. As is usual with the calibre of Asian horror films, there's far more to it than that and it is highly unsettling watching the medics succumb to the increasingly strange occurrences. The performanaces are excellently played on a knife's edge and the film is genuinely creepy, with even the more obvious scares still making you jump. This is thanks to a well-crafted atmosphere of bleak suspense and the director conveys a sense of hopelessness expertly.

'Infection' isn't quite up to the formidably high standards of 'The Grudge' or 'Ring', as its execution isn't as concise as those classics. Still, the twists are jaw-droppingly surprising, despite some dubious plot direction, and I have to say again that this film had me on the edge of my seat.

A must for Japanese horror fans and anyone who enjoys intelligent horror in general.
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The old joke is that you should avoid going to hospitals when you are not feeling well because there are too many sick people there. "Kansen" ("Infection") takes place in a hospital where nobody should go, and that includes the doctors and nurses in director Masayuki Ochiai's 2004 horror film. Last night I watched the season finale of "E.R." and with all the problems the fictional County Hospital has, it looks like a state of the art facility compared to the hospital in this movie. The doctors have not been paid, nine nurses have quit, patients are falling out of beds, and they are running out of syringes and just about every other type of necessary supply. One doctor suggests sending every incoming patient to surgery because that might help the place make enough money for them to get paid. A new nurse is so inexperienced with a syringe that she has turned a comatose patient's arm into a pincushion. Meanwhile, an ambulance in transit with a patient who has a rash that is quickly covering their entire body keeps asking for help. It takes that ambulance a while to get to this wretched little hospital, at which point we understand the movie will get to the business of the title.
But before that happens things have already gotten critical when a patient dies because of a fatal mistake. Recriminations fly fast and furious, along with the fear that a malpractice case could close down the hospital and cost them their lousy jobs. When they agree to cover up the circumstances of the death, these doctors and nurses earn the fate that awaits them when the decomposing body is delivered and the unknown infectious disease is unleashed. Whatever it is, it appears to be a green fluid. The part where your muscle tissue falls apart with the sort of wet sound that makes you physical ill comes last. Before that there are nightmarish visions and a descent into insanity peculiar to the personality (and personal limitations) of each character.
The basic premise of the killer disease is familiar and depending on your age the films "The Andromeda Strain" or "Cabin Fever" might be what first comes to your mind as cinematic reference points for this one. What Ochiai is able to take advantage of is both the setting and the characters to creep you out in this unsettling little horror film. There are enough gross outs involving bodies falling apart, but the parts that will get you come before the end stage of the infection as the characters fall apart mentally. Where did the green goo come from? The question is not really worth asking because it is simply the cause for the grim effects. The first act of the film is the most problematic because it takes a long while for the ambulance to get to the hospital and get the main part of the story going. But once things start happening "Kansen" jmoves into a higher gear as these doctors and nurses are all trapped in that place by feelings of duty, guilt, and fear as the infection jumps from person to person.
The result is a solid little horror film without any of the cultural mysticism and nuances of the better known efforts in this genre from Japan. The goal here is not to shock you, but to simply creep you out and it succeeds more often than not in that effort. "Kansen" is the first title in the J-Horror Theater project put together by producer Taka Inchise. With the international success of "Ringu" and "Ju-On" the idea is to keep Japan at the forefront of making horror films and make a six-part film anthology. Involved in the project are Hideo Nakata ("Ringu"), Kiyoshi Kurosawa ("Kairo"), and Takashi Shimizu ("Ju-On"). Norio Tsuruta directs the second film in the series, "Yogen" ("Premonition"), and while the trailer for that film appears on this DVD, I have yet to see its availability. But on the basis of that trailer and this film there is reason to believe that these Japanese filmmakers will be able to succeed where their American counterparts failed so miserably when they started churning out all those splatter flicks.
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on 11 September 2006
Infection is the second instalement in a series of 6 J horror movies brought to us by producer takashige ichise.

the basic story is a patient in a under staffed hospital dies due to malpractice and those involved decide to cover it up. Around the same time another patient is found at the doors dying of bizarre symptoms this triggers of a deadly infection that seems to only target those involved in the cover up.

the infection is a good J horror and a worthy edition to any true J horror fans collection. However the film is more creepy than it is scary. The tension does build up and there are the odd jump scenes but the film does not manage to compete with films such as Ju on (the grudge) ringu (the ring) or dark water however these films raised the bar for horror movies so few films could.

Whats interesting about the film is it is not your typical J horror rather than being another film about vengefull spirits its more of a body horror.

One of my fave scenes is the bit with the nurse walking on the ceiling however there are many other good moments in this film

so far in ichise collection 3 films have been released premonition, infection and reincarnation and another 3 are due in my opinion though the best film will be hideo nakata,s contribution which i can't wait to see
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on 17 October 2008
Warning- Major spoilers ahead.

Oh dear, this one was a bit of a mess. Granted, I absolutely loved the idea of an understaffed hospital stuck in some kind of creepy limbo where the poor inhabitants would succumb to a grisly fate one by one, but it really did miss the mark when it tried to come up with anything coherent. Usually I enjoy that 'keep ya guessing' approach but this one was a wee bit too vague for its own good and the end result just seemed all a bit sloppy to me.

One minute we have some incredibly melting mystery patient and the next, we have medical staff going completely nutters and climbing the walls. Literally. Apparently they're all infected with some kind of virus that turns them into possessed raving lunatics before reducing them to green goo. Kinda like The Exorcist meets the Ebola Virus (but not quite). There's a distinctive 'Reap what you sow' vibe going on, but it's really not that effective when the main characters are just floundering around and not really doing anything about it. Their running about darkened wards got both laughable and annoying. Why no one turned on the still working lights was a mystery to me.

I also found them to be quite an inept bunch of medical professionals, especially when faced with a serious epidemic. Wrapping one deranged nurse in a flimsy plastic sheet without even restraining her to the bed first, made me despair of these guys quarantine techniques. Surprise! She got out. No wonder their hospital was on the skids... This lack of common sense kind of killed any credibility and sympathy I may have felt for them and their situation.

Alternatively, I felt there was a lot of potential secondary characters that were just wasted in this movie. We have a little boy who seems unaffected and scared but is never focused on, some young disgraced doctor who ends up practicing his suturing but gets kinda forgotten about until the end, some guy with a head injury and some other doctor who basically sleeps through the whole thing. There's also a female psych doctor who seems to have some rather interesting insights about the perceptions of the human mind, but basically bogs off and doesn't come back until she's just in time to be made useless all over again.

Other than a very nicely done creepy senile old lady who talks to her family through mirrors, the rest of the cast are fairly dull predictable fodder for the nasty goo infection and you'll see that 'surprise twist' coming a mile away.

Overall, I feel this is a horror movie with a great set-up but let down by a somewhat disappointing execution.
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on 4 July 2010
The story of 'Infection' takes place in a run down hospital which due to constant lack of adequate funding is barely able to function. Riddled with the agony and suffering of numerous patients the strain on the staff has reached the critical point and soon an exhausted nurse's negligence causes a patient to die. In an attempt to cover up the fatal mistake in order to save their careers the staff set off a deadly chain of events. When a patient is brought into the hospital with a deadly virus, the doctors attempt to contain the spread, but when the patient disappears into the ventilation system everyone inside the doomed hospital realises they will have to fight for their lives from the horrifying epidemic.
Infection, though extremely watchable, is a fairly average Asian horror film, full of surreal dark imagery, though somewhat let down by a weak script. If you're a fan of Asian horror then 'Infection' is definitely something to add to your list of movies to see, though don't expect anything as good as Takashi Shimizu's 'Ju-on' or Hideo Nakata's 'Ringu' and 'Dark Water'.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 June 2008
Very good J horror, intriguing and interestingly directed, possibly at the expense of comprehensibility but very enjoyable to watch nonetheless. A dilapidated hospital on the verge of closing, an overworked workforce with low staff morale and barely basic medical supplies are the basis for this story of a rampant infection spreading throughout the relatively small hospital and pool of people within.
Not your standard asian horror as far as the horror tradition represented in many other films from this part of the world, but arguably as good as most of its peers. There is a concept attached to 'Infection' which dictates the manner in which it is filmed; this is explained later on, just sit back and relax, let it wash over you and don't be too concerned at understanding the strands and plot lines too much on first viewing. Quite creepy, lots going on, some questionable responses to certain situations but so what, I just can't help liking these films. If you didn't like other asian horrors you're unlikely to like this one but if you did this is another worthy addition.
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on 30 June 2011
Even by the standard of some Asian horror films in the last 20 years or so, Infection stands out as one of the craziest of them all. Set in a decrepit hospital seemingly on the verge of being shut down for good (once you see what the staff are like, you can see why), this initially feels a bit like Assault On Precinct 13 in the way it's about some reluctant souls being left to look after a deserted facility. And then the carnage begins.

There is a feeling here that the makers of this film are throwing a little bit of everything at this one - it's at various points a ghost story, there are echoes of a zombie film, and it also has straight-out gore movie moments as well not to mention the Asian staples of spooky female ghouls and strange stuff going on with mirrors. Strangely, despite a demented ending that makes almost no sense, it actually works. It's all so utterly barmy that you can't help but enjoy it, even if what is actually going on does have a tendency to elude you for stretches of the film. Good fun.
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on 19 October 2007
This film has a very creepy feel to it and there is a good tension build-up, however it doesn't really go beyond that which I found disappointing as I was hoping for Horror.

The plot's interesting and so are the characters and although I would say I enjoyed this movie - I felt like I was constantly waiting for something else to happen.

Good story - nicely filmed - genuinely gripping - just not frightening.
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on 23 November 2014
Overall I think this is a good film. It's not quite what i had expected and is different enough from other films in the genre. It's a bit slow and doesn't really provide any genuine scares but it has an interesting story and is worth watching
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