Thursday, June 18, 2009

Infection

Nothing is what it seems in this low-budget, "it was all a dream ... or was it?" shocker from 2004 starring the charismatic Koichi Sato (memorable for his portrayal of deadly, real-life Shinsengumi member Hajime Saito in the previous year's When the Last Sword is Drawn).

Infection is required viewing for fledgling filmmakers looking to break into the horror genre. The hospital "location" appears to be the dingy sub-basement of some old government building, and the set designer did little to spruce it up. As it happens, the grime on the walls serves to heighten a sense of looming dread. Think about it: a dirty hospital. That's the last place you'd want to spend any time, particularly if you were sick. Using little more than lighting, lots of fake blood and viscous green goo, as well as the abilities of his talented cast, director Masayuki Ochiai (Shutter, Parasite Eve) creates an aura of claustrophobic menace in a run-down hospital where low morale, incompetence and exhaustion lead inexorably to malpractice, contagion and insanity.

Did I mention there are ghosts? A crazy old granny runs around the wards seeing them in mirrors, but is she really crazy? Those swings in the park out front seem to be swinging themselves ...