Original Japanese Title: Kansen
Directed by: Masayuki Ochiai
Written by: Ryoichi Kimizuka (story)
Masayuki Ochiai (screenplay)
Produced by: Takashige Ichise
Starring: Michiko Hada, Maya Hoshino, Yoko Maki, Kaho Minami, and Moroko Morooka

My wife is a nurse. When I write anything that involves nurses, doctors, and/or hospitals, she’s the first one I turn to for information on how to make the scene authentic. She’ll read what I have written and say, “a doctor wouldn’t say that,” or “In this situation, we would use this type of precaution,” or “This is what we would be asking at this point.” Sometimes I visit her at the hospital where she works and I see things happen first hand. I tell you all of this because this review is going to be clouded by the fact that I have a vague understanding of what goes on in a hospital—of how medical personnel act around disease. But if you’ve even watched a single episode of E.R., I think you would still be able to see just how ludicrous Infection is.

The film opens well enough. Microbes under a microscope move to form the Japanese characters for the title (I loved that!) and we are introduced to a dark, isolated hospital. It seems this place has been abandoned by the administration. Doctors have not been paid, supplies are running low, and nine nurses have quit in the last two weeks. The entire staff that remains is now tired and on edge. When a burn patient goes bad, one nurse’s mistake leads to his accidental death. To avoid disgracing the hospital—and to save their collective careers—the attending staff decides to cover-up the incident.

Big mistake.

Soon, an ambulance drops off a patient with a mysterious disease that turns blood green and liquefies the body. Is this contagion airborne? Is it carried by the blood? As the doctors try to find the cause, the entire staff begins to show signs of the pathogen. Can they find a cure before it is too late?

Masayuki Ochiai’s set-up is amazing and I thrilled to the possibilities that might await. Sadly, from this point on, the film delivers little in the way of originality or logic. If you were a doctor in a room with a contagious patient…don’t you think you would put on a mask?—perhaps even a rubber glove? Of course not! You would wrap the patient in plastic wrap like a huge burrito and carry them into a vacant room. Yeah, that’ll work just fine.

There are some genuinely unsettling moments—such as the nurse who thinks she can save money by sterilizing used needles and blood bags, and there’s the inexperienced nurse who decides to practice drawing blood on herself—but the movie as a whole is so devoid of reason that it makes many of the scenes laughable instead of frightening. I won’t give away any of the so-called twists, but the movie ends three times. If you’ve seen IdentityHide and SeekSession 9, and/or the far superior A Tale of Two Sisters, the first ending will have no shock value, the second ending will make little sense, and the third and final ending is just pointless. And if you can explain to me what the playground swings mean…in the name of all that is holy…tell me…please!

Now, there’s a word of advice any trained doctor will give you, and to prevent future pain and suffering I think you should follow it very closely: avoid Infection.

2.5 out of 5 stars