07th May2021

‘Witness Infection’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Robert Belushi, Jill-Michele Melean, Vince Donvito, Erinn Hayes, Bret Ernst, Monique Coleman, Tara Strong, Carlos Alazraqui, Maurice LaMarche, Joseph D. Reitman, Gary Anthony Williams, Roger Rignack | Written by Carlos Alazraqui, Jill-Michele Melean | Directed by Andy Palmer

Witness Infection tells the story of two rival mob families who are transferred from the Witness Protection Program to the same city by mistake. Life has always been pretty protected for Carlo Serrelli. But his past is about to come back and bite him. Carlo’s father has kept him out of the deadly mob business by giving him a job at the family dog groomers, while his younger brother, Dominic, has always done the dirty work. All that is coming to an end as Carlo’s father has to force him into an arranged marriage with the daughter of the rival Miola family boss. Carlo’s two best friends, Gina and Vince, vow to help him get out of this predicament, but they all get in way over their heads when a serious infection starts eating the town. The good news is that Carlo may not have to get married after all — but the bad news is that everyone might die.

How best to describe Witness Infection? Well there is one way, and a way in which you REALLY don’t need to say much more… Witness Infection is The Sopranos meets Shaun of the Dead. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.

OK, so that’s not all. Witness Infection is essentially a film of two halves… The first is a brilliant spoof of the kind of gangsters seen in i with an arranged marriage supposedly settling a feud between two warring – and in witness protection – families. Only these families are filled with the kind of “goombah” gangsters that epitomise every stereotype and cliche in the book. And the film knows that, it plays with the audiences knowledge of that particular trope – it plays up to it and, of course, makes sly fun of it at the same time!

The second half of the film? As the strange infection grows, turning more and more townsfolk into flesh-eating zombies? Well that part of the film drops all pretence at comedy. Yes there’s fun to be had but the back end of Witness Infection is all about the horror – in the same way that Return of the Living Dead was as horrific as it was funny. There’s gore a plenty in the latter half, with some superb practical effects work, both for the look of the films “zombies” (who break out in boils and sores as their infection grows) and for the various states of flesh-munching on offer. And there’s a brutally beautiful scene featuring a zombie and a toilet seat that will make the horror-loving audience smile… and possibly wince.

Stars and co-writers Carlos Alazraquia and Jill-Michele Melean have together penned a swift, fast-paced film that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Yes, some of the early scenes seem awkward and, at times, drawn out but once that second half kicks in, well the pace doesn’t let up – to the point where the film actually feels over too soon! Meanwhile director Andy Palmer does an admirable job switching between comedy and horror, light and dark, with ease – keeping the flare to a minimum, focussing on the story and characters when needed and showcasing the tremendous effects work in the second half of the film; never shying away from showing horror fans what they want… gore and grue!

Witness Infection is out now on cable, satellite and digital HD from Freestyle Digital Media

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