In the 23rd century, space travel is a thing of the past, replaced by the far quicker and cheaper ‘slipstreaming’, allowing our descendants to commute daily halfway across the solar system, teleporting in for their 9 to 5 before being zapped home in time for The One Show. Sure it’s dangerous, there’s always the risk of data corruption, you could come back as someone (or something) else, but it’s well paid and in an economic recession (probably still the same one we’re experiencing…) a job, is a job.

Which is the way rookie security team member Whit Carmichael (Daniel MacPherson) looks at it, nonchalantly telling his anxious, pregnant wife he’ll be home in time for dinner. Which is just asking for trouble really, we’ve all seen this kind of movie before.

It’s not much of a shock then when, as he’s suiting up for his first mission, a returning worker slipstreams in infected with a deadly virus that sweeps through the base like wildfire, an orgy of violence erupting as it turns it’s victims into raging psychopaths. As the West Coast base locks down for a fatal quarantine, Whit’s only chance of survival is to teleport to the remote mining colony, Infini, that’s the source of the infection.

Cut to the mining company’s East Coast base where a specialised rescue team has been assembled and tasked with finding out exactly what happened by rescuing the outbreak’s sole survivor…Whit Carmichael. Arriving at the gutted mining outpost, the team are confronted by scenes of unspeakable carnage and a jittery Whit who, despite only leaving Earth moments before, thanks to the effects of time dilation, has been trapped there for months. Sweaty and twitchy, is Whit half-mad and exhausted after months alone in a hostile environment, jumping at shadows, his temper barely kept in check? Or has he fallen victim to the infection that’s claimed the lives of everyone around him? Soon paranoia, suspicion and violence are raging through the team as they try desperately to prevent the infection spreading to Earth…

NEVER…

TAKE…

OFF…

YOUR…

HELMET!

If you’re a member of an elite deep space military rescue team investigating a dangerous alien biohazard you’d think that maybe taking off your armoured space suit’s helmet would be right at the top of the list of things not to do. Right next to don’t turn on the heating and allow the frozen (infectious) gore liberally splashed up the walls and ceiling to thaw and form gloopy puddles everywhere. Neither of these things apparently occurred to the mostly disposable team of cardboard cut-out lugs (Thor’s bigger, less handsome, older brother Luke Hemsworth among them) responsible for keeping the Earth safe from dangerous alien infections.

Borrowing liberally from the likes of Alien, Pandorum, Event Horizon, John Carpenter’s entire career and even Solaris as well as just outright stealing the idea of slipstreaming from Alfred Bester’s brilliant sci-fi Count of Monte Christo, The Stars, My Destination (can’t believe only Stargate ever did it before), Infini may feel familiar but it’s an enjoyably intense claustrophobic ride. Sure, we’ve edged gingerly down these dark, grimy corridors and air vents before as everyone goes batshit crazy and tries to kill each other. But it’s still fun and Aussie writer/director Shane Abbess keeps the pace balls-to-the-wall, never allowing you the time to pick holes in his convoluted, not entirely logical plot, cheekily explaining away the technology that allows slipstreaming by describing it as “blackhole bullshit.” We don’t need to know how it works, the film’s grunts don’t know either. They just know it works and that’s all we need to know. Similarly, we don’t need to know exactly how the alien primordial ooze at the film’s heart infects its prey or why Whit is (relatively) immune to it. He just is.

Having been stuck in development hell for the best part of eight years since his noirish angel action movie Gabriel (and there’s no way the team behind TV’s Dominion haven’t seen Gabriel), it’s good to see Abbess back making films (he’s currently shooting sci-fi actioner SFv1, again with MacPherson) and he’s well served by Oz’s Dancing With The Star’s host MacPherson who makes for a ruggedly sympathetic, reluctant hero.

Smarter and more thoughtful than it really needs to be, with a metaphysical bent, Infini may boldly go where a dozen or so have gone before but it’s a dark, wildly entertaining ride.

Movie Review: Infini
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