Infested (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes


See if you recognize this film reference:

Several old college chums gather for the first time in years because one of their old gang has died. Before, during and after the funeral, they note how much they have changed, flirt with one another, and discuss life. The girlfriend of their deceased friend rounds out the cast.

One of them is a drug dealer. One is a former radical turned capitalist. One is a self-important journalist. One is a handsome actor with a successful TV series.

Enough clues?

No, it isn't The Big Chill. It's Infested - a swarming insect movie. If I had been the director, I would have named it The Bug Chill.

To make the parallel even more obvious for those of you who missed it, two of the characters actually compare Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill to another film called Return of the Secaucus Seven, a similar (many say better) John Sayles movie which was made three years earlier.

OK, fair enough. Those were two good movies, and I've always said if you're gonna swipe something, make it something good.

Except that all the yuppie-sellout-angst ends about ten minutes into the film, when the insects start attacking them. These particular insects are special. When they sting, they implant eggs. They breed instantly inside the humans that they bite, then proceed to take over those humans and use them to attack other humans. They are pretty durned smart insects. They know how to cut power cables, they know where Iraq's secret WMDs were, they can solve Fermat's last theorem, and they know so much about cars that they can tune a 1956 DeSoto. Or so it seems.

Silly stuff. One fourth horror film, one fourth horror film parody, one fourth an homage to Big Chill, the last fourth a parody of The Big Chill. At times, the film seems to be going along fairly seriously in a Big Chill kind of way when the dialogue turns to high camp.

serious person  ......         It's almost as if the flies were (dramatic pause) ... waiting for something.

other serious person  ......         Or (dramatic pause) ... someONE.

mandatory sarcastic person  ......         Yuh ... the Lord of the Flies.

I was a little disappointed that those two dramatic pauses were not punctuated by organ chords.

A rather marked departure from the plot of The Big Chill comes in the fact that the dead classmate is not really dead. He's a mad scientist who has somehow engineered the smart insects to do his bidding, thus explaining how they manage all their feats of intelligence. This guy has the power over insect life, just as Aquaman commands the creatures of the deep, Beastmaster controls the beasts of the field, and Howard Stern has complete domain over all women with large silicone breasts.

As I said, it is a very silly movie. It almost, but not quite, works.


DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1. Good transfer.



Nahanni Johnstone shows her breasts clearly, in an outdoor skinny-dipping scene in sunlight.

Amy Jo Johnson takes a long shower on screen, but nothing is visible.

Tuna's notes

Infested (2002) is the Big Chill with nature run amok, as killer bugs invade a funeral gathering of obnoxious and self-absorbed 80s college friends. The same basic scenario is played out time after time. Someone opens their big mouth, and 5 million cgi bugs fly into it. Once they have been bugged, they become part of the infection process. The first third of the film is spent showing how shallow and thoroughly obnoxious the people are. Then the bugs take over, and, by then, I was ready to root for them.

Cast members who have not made another film is the following four years are Nahanni Johnstone, Lisa Ann Hadley, Daniel Jenkins, Robert Duncan McNeill, David Packer and Tuc Watkins. Josh Olson has not directed since, nor has Charles Block produced. 

If you can find anyone who liked this film, be very worried.

The Critics Vote

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This film is a C-. I can't rate it lower because I liked bits and pieces, but there were times when I just couldn't keep my hand of the fast forward button. It does look good, except for the CGI. The flick has some good gross-outs, and obviously has its tongue deep inside its cheek. I think it suffers a little from an inability to decide whether it was a realistic horror film with a cast of Big Chill characters, or a parody of faux yuppie angst dialogue and cheesy horror movies. It was kinda good at both, but it's just really difficult to do both and succeed." Tuna has no such ambivalence: "This is a D-, due in large part to poorly executed and way over-used CGI effects."

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