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Infested (Vermines) – Film News | Film-News.co.uk

Sébastien Vanicek (director)

Shudder (studio)

15 (certificate)

106 (length)

26 April 2024 (released)

17 min




With an opening sequence that could suggest a number of motives for collecting the spiders, it soon becomes blindingly obvious that regardless of the reason, they are really nasty.

Which is not something that crosses the mind of sneaker dealer Kaleb (Théo Christine), who also collects exotic creatures and keeps them at his flat in a suburban apartment complex in a French city.

There’s a lot that’s familiar with this setting: disaffected youth, a rap soundtrack, social decay and the residents living by whatever means they can, with a distrust of the police and authority.

Kaleb is step away from these clichés having an element of social consciousness about his surroundings that temper the clear illegality of his dealings. And there’s no shortage of takers for his wares. For which he insists on providing a good product: no tatty boxes for brand new trainers. And for him there’s no drug dealing.

Attracted to the spider, which he finds through his illegal exotic creature dealer. He takes it back home. Needless to say, the creature escapes and causes bloody mayhem in the blocks being very fast breeders and extremely vicious. It’s not long before Kaleb and friend realise what they are dealing with and they’re in the wrong place.

There’s nothing new here in Sébastien Vanicek feature film debut, co-written with Florent Bernard. The viewer will know that the spider is vicious, will escape and cause death and destruction along the way.

What they may not be so prepared for is just how well the story is told: the depth, humour, and social-commentary – though the latter not overstated, mixed with the blood and violence. There’s a visceral panache here almost arrogant, aided by superb editing. But Vanicek also shows he has a subtler hand, able to carefully develop tension, as when the friends are faced with a long corridor full of cobwebs and spiders.

It’s a lean film that moves a brisk pace once the horror gets into gear. But it’s not relentless and there’s more than enough space for the writers to develop the characters so that they are more than just spider fodder. And the actors appear to revel in this with some wonderful performances.

The violence quota is high as is the gore which is a given in French horror films these days though this doesn’t have the malevolence of the extreme sub-genre. This is very much in the fun monster movie mould just a lot bloodier.

Infested will be available on Shudder from 26 April 2024.



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