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Effectively creepy and often terrifying with strong human drama, “Infested” is a creature feature that delivers on its skin-crawling premise.

Infested

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Similar films from different studios are released constantly. This goes beyond cinematic universes relating to comic books. Nun horror, sci-fi epics, and even biopics about whistleblowers have all been released this year. So, what better time than to release a horror movie about spiders?

Kaleb (Theo Christine) is a collector of exotic insects. He is immediately fascinated by a unique spider he finds in a Parisian pawn shop and takes it home. It is not long before the arachnid escapes, reproduces, and takes over the apartment building he lives in.

It’s not a perfect film. Infested moves too fast for its own good at times, and some moments come off as lazy writing. For example, Kaleb has turned his entire home into a showcase for rare insects but still decides to keep the possibly poisonous spider in a shoebox.

As noticeable as these scenes are, they do not harm the film. This is a creature feature, and some things can be forgiven in service of what we really came for.

When all is said and done, the most important thing is having creepy crawly bugs.

More so than other types of horror, the best of these movies are great at doing two things to the audience: grossing them out and making them feel angry at the characters based on their dumb choices.

Infested succeeds on both fronts.

Director Sebastien Vanicek (also listed as a co-writer) decides to keep most of the plot confined to the apartment building. Along with the ickiness of the spiders, Infested brings a dark and claustrophobic feeling. The little buggers can come from anywhere at any time, which adds to the tension.

Vanicek also makes great use of special effects. We get some nice practical effects sprinkled with CGI, and the eight-legged freaks look appropriately creepy.

The movie excels in its more terrifying moments. Even those not afraid of arachnids will feel their skin tingle uncomfortably as they watch hordes of them take over.

Interestingly, the story tries to add a human element. It is more grounded than similar fare — the antagonists may be unique to Paris, but they are not alien in any other way. Infested gives depth to its characters, mainly because many struggle with their pasts. It is a nice addition that does not always work in creature features.

The flip side is when Infested gets overly dramatic. It is almost expected, considering some of the issues being dealt with, but it also tends to slow things down. This is especially noticeable since the horror is done very well.

While it is refreshing to see a creature feature with a cast you have more than just a simple rooting interest in, the real draw is the spiders.

If you only watch one spider horror movie this year, Infested should be the one.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3

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