A Sci-Fi Honey New Release Review by Katie

Infini (2015)

Here’s some advice for any future inhabitants of Earth who are tasked with going on a search-and-rescue mission in deep space: don’t. Just don’t. If sci-fi/horror has taught us anything, it is that this setup is always perilous – and often deadly – for all involved. Unfortunately for the characters at the heart of director Shane Abbess’ Aussie sci/horror Infini, these kinds of hazardous jobs are the only ones that really pay in the future, forcing lots of desperate people to either mine for resources on remote space outposts, or rescue said miners who are in peril. Neither occupation is ideal, but both serve as a pretext for a whole lot of time-jumping space travel in the bumpy journey through Infini.

The film stars Daniel MacPherson as Whit Carmichael, an aforementioned space miner who says goodbye to his wife and unborn child, telling them he’ll be right back (of course) right before all hell breaks loose on the job. A team is sent to rescue him on mining colony Infini, traveling there via “slipstreaming:" a form of dangerous, space/time continuum-traversing teleportation. They soon encounter an alien biological contagion that infects them with a 28 Days Later-esque rage, a plague that they must stop in its tracks before it contaminates life on Earth. The crew is made up of the usual suspects in any given ‘Space Marine’ scenario: the bad-tempered guy, the rookie, the gorgeous-but-brainy female, the smartass, and of course, the chiseled hot guy, played here by a Hemsworth (not Chris, not Liam – the other one). There’s even a character named Rex Manning, which got me excited for a moment, until I discovered he’s not the Rex Manning I was hoping for.

But wouldn't THIS Rex Manning be awesome in space?
I consider myself a pretty sharp gal, but I had to re-watch Infini twice to grasp exactly what was going on at certain moments, particularly in the beginning. Opening with several screens of textual backstory, the film jumps to events that are later re-shown at the end, then back to the beginning with a search-and-rescue group, then to a briefing room where a second group is being instructed on how to rescue the first, and so on. After twenty minutes of convoluted exposition, it’s difficult to see how all of these early events fit into the context of the whole film until the end – and even then, you might still be scratching your head. While it’s common for a sci-fi film to have some awkward early scenes that have to “explain” and acquaint the viewer with the world of the film, Infini would’ve been more effective if Abbess had utilized the “show, not tell” method of storytelling.

We don't need this guy to explain the whole movie to us.
Once we get past the muddled opening, it is on board space station Infini that the film finally finds its groove. The setting has an eerie Event Horizon vibe, complete with unnerving steam-spouting corridors, mysterious laboratories, and corpse-strewn rooms. As the contagion begins to infect more members of the squad, a claustrophobic cat-and-mouse game ensues which pits Carmichael against most of the crew – and once he’s exposed, against the loss of his sanity. The second act of the film is by far the most convincingly scary and well-shot, before it seems to lose its footing again in the third act. At a runtime of nearly two hours, Infini might’ve benefitted from some more scrutiny during the editing process and trimmed or removed scenes that are overly drawn-out or redundant in the finished product.

And more shots of the cool set please.
Despite its shortcomings in editing and pacing, Infini treads some well-worn paths in the genre with enough deviation to keep it interesting, particularly when the crew arrives at the space station. While it comes nowhere near the genuine horror and penetrating atmosphere of the films it’s referencing (mainly Event Horizon, Alien and The Thing), the film overall is convincingly thrilling when it works. Writer/director Shane Abbess has been out of the game since his 2007 horror/fantasy feature Gabriel, and his return behind the camera is markedly enthusiastic. With a little more refinement of his craft, this filmmaker’s follow-up to Infini could be a masterpiece.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: Three rage-inducing contagions out of five.

Infini is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant VideoGoogle Play, & onDemand

Have you experienced a different kind of Rex Manning Day
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