Infested Is Attack the Block, But With Killer Spiders
In the realm of animal-based horror movies, the spider is widely overlooked. Snakes, wolves, sharks, bears, you feel like you see them all the time. And yes, there are killer spider movies, but not as many as one might think considering just how scared so many people are of the eight-legged creatures. Well, a new one just debuted at Fantastic Fest 2023, and it’s ready to join that Mount Rushmore of all-time scary spider movies.
That movie is called Infested (aka Vermin), and it’s coming to Shudder in 2024. It stars Théo Christine as Kaleb, a young hustler who lives in a French high-rise with his sister. Kaleb loves creepy animals and one day buys a pretty-looking spider from a local black market dealer. He just wants something cool to look at but, the spider gets out and well, take that thought through to your worst possible nightmare. Infested is that and so much more.
The story is largely isolated to Kaleb’s high-rise, and before the spider stuff even begins, we get to learn about who he is, his family, friends, and more. He’s a man with real issues—not over-the-top issues, necessarily, but relatable issues. We learn he and his sister can’t talk about their dead mom, for example, and that his best friend holds a mysterious grudge with him. Kaleb and his neighbors are good people. Real people. Which is why things get so scary once shit hits the fan.
I won’t spoil anything specific about Infested, but to fully explain why it’s so damn enjoyable, I do have to set the scene a bit. The spider Kaleb brings home isn’t a normal spider. It’s vicious and highly adaptable. Within a matter of minutes, a bite will kill you. Within hours, it multiples into the millions. Now, put characters you’ve come to care for in a building with maybe a million killer spiders. Webs everywhere. Spiders all over the walls, coming out of pipes, etc. Yup. Now you’re getting it.
Infested is directed by Sébastien Vanicek, who tells this story with raw reality and pulse-pounding pace. Catchy hip-hop explodes off the soundtrack. Hand-held camera moves put the audience inside the action. People die, emotions get high, and all manner of biological logic is thrown out the window. If there’s something wholly impossible a spider could do that would make things super freaking terrifying, that’s what happens in Infested.
That lack of logic does muddle the end of the movie ever so slightly, and the spider action does feel a little less prevalent than one would’ve hoped. But even with a few slight gripes, Infested is excellent. It’ll have you both squirming in your seat and on the edge of it.
Infested had its North American debut at Fantastic Fest 2023, and will debut on Shudder in 2024.
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