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Infection - Kansen (Ochiai Masayuki 2005)


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Kansen
[Infection]

Genre: Amoebic Horror

review in one breath

A mind-crushing viral infection is slowly spreading through the patients and staff of a small dismal hospital, causing all in its wake to disgustingly melt into green lime jello. By days end, Dr. Akiba thinks things couldn't possibly get any worse, until he learns the true mind-bending nature of this disease from hell.


intro

Kansen is a recent production of the "J Horror Theater" (which unfortunately romanizes into "J Horra Shitter" if your pronunciation isn't careful). JH Shitter thus far has three films in its venue, including Yogen (directed by Kakashi director Tsuruta Norio) and Rinne (directed by Shimizu Takashi, whose many horror films include all the Juon series and Tomie: Re-birth). Kansen, is directed by Ochiai Masayuki who also brought you Parasite Eve (1997) and Hypnosis (1999). Interestingly enough, Kansen may be said to consist of a composite of both these earlier films, presenting the audience with a mind-crushing virus which melts both body and mind.

story

First off, I am becoming increasingly terrified at even the sight of private Japanese hospitals. Thus I simply recommend, should you ever find yourself in a medical emergency in rural Japan, that you simply gird your loins and intestines and FLEE LIKE HELL! Fans with keen memories might recall the bizarre goings-on in the private hospitals depicted in Tomie: Replay, Donor and Ju-Lei. But let me just warn you that the mother of all hospital disasters lies waiting in Kansen.

Within the mere opening scenes you shall witness the most disturbing medical ineptitudes causing great moral concern on the one hand, and on the other the great desire to slap this entire hospital's staff up-side the head (multiple times). Not only is the entire hospital understaffed, over-worked, seriously stressed out and literally running out of medicine, but also: (a) wildly untrained nurses are practicing injection techniques on helpless patients, (b) over-eager interns without any training whatsoever are practicing their sutures on any unconscious victim, (c) ER patients are either turned away or left festering in abandoned hallways, (d) head-strong young doctors mistakenly call for lethal medicines during fast-paced resuscitation treatments causing the irreversible, slow and painful death of an otherwise salvageable patient, and on and on.

But the mother of all mistakes comes when the over-ambitious head physician pushes his subordinates to investigate, rather than report, a seriously (SERIOUSLY) infected patient. By the time his staff has coordinated a most basic plan (like 'stand around and look at the goopy green woman'), the patient has literally melted into a green gelatinous puddle on the floor. As they peer into the lime jello puddle, they wonder aloud what could have happened to the bones and internal organs, none of which are visible. THEN someone notices slimy green scuffle marks leading up the wall and into one of the hospital vents...

So out come the flashlights and the silhouetted walks down darkened hospital corridors in scenes causing deja vu with Donor. In times like these, wouldn't sane folk simply turn on the hospital lights? Or is that luxury simply reserved for more serious threats like, say, having a slimy green jello goblin slithering through the hospital ventilation system?

Meanwhile, the head (dyke!) nurse assigned to watch the melting gelatinous mass has herself turned a strange hue of green and suddenly grown disturbingly fond of HUGE contaminated needles, vats of boiling water, and transfusions involving squirting green blood.

Despite ALL THAT, however, Kansen turned out to be a rather thought-provoking tale which certainly remains unsolved until the final moments when the true nature of the Infection is made known. Due to the massive spoiler potential in going much further, I think I shall simply say no more about the storyline. (...)

verdict

This is an interesting film to see, if not simply for the imaginative value. As to whether or not it is plausible I will only suggest that each of the JH Shitter films I have thus far watched seem to employ a degree of irrationality or unintelligibility, reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes, where emotional impact was as important as rational stimulation. This irrational bent is certainly NOT necessarily a bad thing, and is in fact a nice counter-balance to the many recent uber-explanatory horror films. So, I say, hats off to the JH Shitter collection for allowing themselves to indulge in good old-fashioned mysterium.

But mysterium aside, had it not been for the spoiler potential, this movie remains wide-opened to a plethora of witty barbs just waiting to be hurled. (But I here diligently discipline myself.)

Version reviewed: Unsubtitled VHS

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
No cultural contribution whatsoever. Rather graphic depictions of "hospital-themed" violence. That means weapons of choice include scalpels, HUGE syringes, slabs of flesh, and putrid corpses. In this particular case it also means major infectious melting into goopy green lime jello (with hair!). One satisfied young nurse whose glow lasts all but 5 seconds. Though not quite in the major leagues, this is a rather thought-provoking tale when all is said and done.

2 Comments


I totally agree about the "twilight zone" aura of this film. There�s some room for post-viewing wondering or thinking...in a good way.


One of my favorite J horror movies, still cant explain the ending :o)

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