Infection Masayuki Ochiai

No one plays mind tricks the way Japanese horror films do. With most being psychologically damaging at the least, it's rare to sit through one without feeling a little uncomfortable. Infection follows the tradition. Shot with an eerie, almost nauseating tinge, the story is set in an under-funded, under-staffed hospital. When a nurse accidentally kills a grisly, mummy-garbed patient in a desperate attempt to revive him, a group of doctors agree to cover up the incident to avoid malpractice. Immediately after, another patient suffering from a mysterious gooey skin infection melts, causing even more alarm and paranoia in the hospital. Soon the attendants become struck with irrational fear, and one after another begin suffering from the unexplained feverish plague that possesses them to go batty and eventually melt from the inside out. While there's plenty of messy green slime vomited and oozed through various orifices to please the hard-gore audiences, Infection is most effective in its ability to confuse the hell out of the viewer. The explanation of the virus is quite startling and outlandish, leaving a strong feeling of chaos and disorientation with each case (most upsetting is the scene where one doctor predicts then awaits his head exploding). Though not the oddest horror flick to come out of Japan, Infection is a fine, gory, psychological thriller that blurs the edges of imagination and reality, causing some magnificent trauma. (Maple)