Science Fiction has long been a way for us to grapple with questions about humanity, a disguise that often makes sensitive issues easier to deal with. Think Battlestar Galactica addressing what defines humanity and through that the banality of discrimination. Infini is no exception to this, a sci-fi horror movie that constantly grapples with the question of what would you do to survive? What do we call on to thrive? What is life?
This film is chaotic from the start, throwing you instantly into a world disoriented and struggling to catch up. It’s a deliberate move, a way of showing you just a bit what it would be like to try and survive in a world where you’re so desperate to feed your family you’d take impossibly dangerous jobs, slipstreaming (moving as broken up data) from world to world and back.
Dan MacPherson plays Wit Carmichael, the lone survivor of an outbreak on mining colony Infini – an outbreak that drives people mad almost instantly, causing them to slaughter one another indiscriminately. Once his rescue team arrives, and predictably, becomes infected, it’s a race to survive long enough to be slipstreamed back home.
The concept isn’t new, a team fights some alien presence and itself and is one man strong enough to fight them all? But this low budget film did it with so much style (the set is incredible and makes the fight scenes so tense) and heart that you’re drawn in, breath held and eyes wide. MacPherson’s performance is nothing less than stellar – all ego, all self-consciousness set aside, a deep dive into the mind of a man driven to get home to his family.
Faced with death repeatedly, Carmichael has to make choice after choice for survival’s sake, starting with taking this job and leaving behind a pregnant wife. The film makes no bones about this – how you choose to live is never couched as anything else than what would you do in this situation? At first, these choices seem easy (ish) – do you leave your friend in the midst of a biological outbreak to save yourself, when to do otherwise means certain death for both of you? But by the end of the film, you’ll find yourself questioning everything from your daily interactions to the choices humanity makes in a moment, that will impact generations to come.
In making this movie Shane Abbess proved, yet again, that a big budget isn’t necessary for a good science fiction movie. You don’t need giant CGI monsters, you need a compelling story, a heart for the material and a cast willing to go places within themselves that speak to the soul of their audience.
Are there things I could be nitpicky about – of course. How Carmichael’s background is somehow so extensive in computers that he can run the entire station himself? How he’s also suddenly capable enough in engineering to know exactly where to send people, what pipes need to be changed in order to shut down the station’s payload. It’s iffy. But those points are overwhelmingly swallowed by the sheer fantastic emotion pulled out by the film.
For Strike Back fans, seeing this side of MacPherson will be refreshing and fun. A reminder that our Wyatt is not only a great action star, but is becoming a seriously great actor. We truly hope Wyatt’s story allows MacPherson to showcase the depth of his talent as much as Infini does.