Infested – Review  

Infested – Review  

Infested – Review. By Daniel Rester.  

Anyone with a high level of arachnophobia may want to stay away from Infested – aka Vermines. Otherwise they might just have a heart attack. For everyone else, Sébastien Vanicek’s directorial debut offers a wild ride of spider horror thrills. 

Infested stars Théo Christine as Kaleb, a young man who lives in a dilapidated French apartment building with his sister Manon (Lisa Nyarko). While Manon tries to clean up the building, Kaleb is more interested in selling black market shoes and collecting rare insects. Kaleb’s latest arthropod is a deadly desert spider. 

After the spider gets out of a shoe box, it soon multiplies and the apartment building becomes infested with thousands of them. Kaleb, Manon, and their friends try to avoid the spiders and escape the building. This becomes more difficult once authorities quarantine the place as the eight-leggers rapidly grow in size. 

Vanicek and his co-writer Florent Bernard set up a terrifying stuck-in-a-building plot along the lines of horror classics like Shivers (1975) and [REC] (2007). They write clever scenes using the characteristics of the environment, including a webbed hallway walk with a timed lighting system and a chase scene up flights of stairs. The script also includes some surprisingly emotional beats between characters and social commentary regarding how impoverished families are often ignored. Kaleb and many of the other characters are also brought to life by people of color, adding another level of awareness. 

The mix of practical and digital effects in Infested is expert. The spiders look real and creepy at every turn, even as they grow to unbelievable sizes. Vanicek builds suspense well by often revealing the spiders to the audience but keeping them out of sight of the characters for a bit. When the spiders do attack, the action is handled excitingly. The stairwell chase is definitely a highlight as Vanicek keeps the lighting restricted to a flashlight the characters are using. 

Infested only lets down in the third act. There is a major character decision that just makes zero sense, seemingly only existing so that a noisy climax can unfold. There is simply too much going on in this section of the film. 

Vanicek was recently announced as the director for the next installment of the Evil Dead franchise. He is an inspired choice as he proves with Infested that he can bring real intensity and unique creative touches to the horror genre. Despite its third act, Vanicek’s film is still one of the best spider horror films ever. 

Rating: 8/10    

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