Main cast: Daniel MacPherson (Whit Carmichael), Grace Huang (Claire Grenich), Luke Hemsworth (Charlie Kent), Bren Foster (Morgan Jacklar), Luke Ford (Chester Huntington), Dwaine Stevenson (Rex Mannings), Louisa Mignone (Philipa Boxen), Tess Haubrich (Lisa Carmichael), Kevin Copeland (Seet Johanson), and Harry Pavlidis (Harris Menzies)
Director: Shane Abbess
Infini is an Australian sci-fi horror film, which probably explains why everything looks and feels to be on the low budget side here. This can give a rather unfortunate impression, especially if you are like me, who are spoiled by the pretty and shiny set pieces in Hollywood productions that no doubt cost far more than anyone working on this movie can afford. The movie also starts out pretty rough, as there are many characters running around in a frantic pace and it can be a chore to figure out who this guy or that lady is. But if you stick around, you may eventually realize that this movie can get under your skin and pack a very heavy emotional punch.
It is some time in the 23rd century, so we now have spaceships and such, ooh. Space travel is so much easier now that we have a technology that allows near-instantaneous teleportation that would make the Star Trek crew feel inadequate. Men have set up a mining outpost called OI Infini at some distant planet, and that is where the troubles begin. You see, the miners are all MIA, and the search and rescue team sent to find out what happens turned violent and killed one another. Well, except for Whit Carmichael, who used the teleporter to send himself back to Infini. The folks on Earth also realize that someone – or maybe something – has sent a payload on its way to Earth, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that very bad things may happen if it reaches its destination. Another search and rescue team is dispatched to both stop the payload and retrieve Whit. What will they find in OI Infini?
Comparisons to Event Horizon may be inevitable, as both movies revolves around the Lovecraftian premise of something or someone mysterious and possibly sinister preying on one’s greatest fears and vulnerabilities in a destructive manner. However, unlike the very glossy other movie, Infini is basically a bunch of people running around in what seems like a big warehouse made not so successfully to look like a futuristic mining depot. That’s probably not a good thing.
But as the movie progresses, it wisely aims for the gut. Here, we have comrades, even lovers, turning on one another in a murderous rage, and it’s all pretty messed up. It is hard to care about the bulk of these characters, as they are all poorly defined and exist solely as collateral damage, but Whit Carmichael is a pretty solid protagonist. It is very easy for me to root for his dogged never-say-die attitude; all he wants is to go home and be with his pregnant wife. (Hilariously, this movie makes it seem like Lisa Carmichael makes it a habit to stand for hours rubbing her pregnant stomach, apparently because this is what pregnant women do all the time.) Chester Huntington, a more sarcastic foil to Whit, is also pretty fun to follow, as he and Whit have much in common – both just want to go home to their families back on Earth – and they have a fun buddy-rival interaction here. Claire and Morgan are expecting a child, so it could be heartbreaking to see them turning on one another, if they were better written characters. Oh, and the forgotten Hemsworth brother, the oldest one, plays some dude here that dies shortly after the carnage begins. He’s only memorable due to his resemblance to his Hollywood-bound brothers.
Infini isn’t an original movie by all means, and it even comes with the obligatory message about the state of humanity, with Whit momentarily becoming the symbol of the simple wants and desires of the working class up against the games played by the elite… or something like that. Nonetheless, the execution works, as absurd as this may seem. The first half or so of the movie feels unnecessarily cluttered and frenetic, but as time passes, I find myself rooting for and even relating to Whit, and the denouement is unexpectedly moving. By the end of the movie, I find myself thinking that this one is actually alright, and I may even watch it again someday. How did that happen? In a way, this movie is just like Whit – it is an underdog, working against the limitations imposed on it, and in the end, it manages to succeed despite the odds, and I find myself responding very favorably to it.
There are some things left unexplained in the movie, especially the nature of the… things… that are working against our crew here, but that’s to be expected, I suppose, for a movie of such Lovecraftian nature. The dialogues can be quite wooden at places, but that’s okay with me too, as I find other things in this movie that work and thus make up for any inadequacies in the acting.
All things considered, this is a very pleasant surprise. I like it, and all things considered, the folks behind this movie have done a good job in keeping things interesting. I had my doubts at the start of the movie, but in the end, they pulled through.