WITNESS INFECTION: A Gorey Lack Of Investment

While many may expect the zombie apocalypse to emerge through an unexplainable virus at the borders of CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA, Witness Infection, from Andy Palmer, is here to make you think otherwise. And not only does it cause viewers to reconsider the origin of the apocalypse, but the limited range of space and time it could encompass as well.

Unfortunately, this is all that Witness Infection provides its audience. In a film with so much potential, audiences will find themselves frustrated with its bloated premise, misguided narrative and craving more depth and reasons to invest. And worst of all, searching for its central terror – zombies.

You are what you eat

Witness Infection wastes no time, quickly building the tension, its opening scene finding two hunters taking a break from the hunt. While the dialogue between them leaves much to be desired, there is an anticipation of the violence that is about to commence at any moment. As they discuss the sandwich one of the hunters is eating, the unsettling sounds of gastrointestinal imbalance begins to emerge, one of the men having to leave the tent in disgust.

WITNESS INFECTION: A Gorey Lack Of Investment
source: Petri Entertainment

It seems like a cooky premise, but it is interesting to see the hunter become consumed by his own consumption. Too often, diseases that spark zombie apocalypses, or apocalypses in general, are through respiratory viruses or unknown origins. The idea that you are what you eat is a new edgy take on the tiresome genre, adding heightened tension and widening the breadth of the potential narrative.

Am I watching a mobster or a zombie horror?

Sometimes you can over look poor performance and weak dialogue if the horror and the effects are good enough, and at times this holds true for Witness Infection – including the opening scene. As one hunter devours another, spreading the virus, there is an intensity and an excitement for what is to come. As it launches into “Shame” by Bad Bad Hats, blood spatter filling the camera lens in an almost a voyeuristic fashion, viewers are whisked away to a local groomers and our central cast.

From this moment on, the film lost me on its central focus and premise. For the remainder of the film – until its last 37 minutes – there is very little in the way of zombies. Instead, the film focuses on Carlo (Robert Belushi), a local pet groomer and son of a recently relocated mob family within the witness protection program. As he struggles to distance himself from the family affairs, he finds he can avoid no longer avoid the inevitable when an opposing family is also relocated through the witness protection program to the same location.

WITNESS INFECTION: A Gorey Lack Of Investment
source: Petri Entertainment

As the families blame one another for the lose of former members on both sides, Carlo is the peace offering to unite the families through marriage. And try as he might to avoid it, it is on himself alone to save the family and his brother. On paper, this concept sounds intriguing, but in reality the vision of mobster dueling families in a zombie apocalypse fails to flourish. First, you are made aware as a viewer of the change in circumstance and location for Carlo’s family, but it is barely explained that they are in the witness protection program. Also, a randomly included scene with police (or possible henchmen?) raiding a home leaves more in the way of questions than continuity.

Secondly, where are the zombies? There is no pulsating fear of impending doom that crescendos, a constant wait laborious for viewers. And there was little connection that brought the two concepts together. And with the majority of characters depicted as selfish, ecocentric and snobs, who cares when the two worlds actually did meet.

Not all lost

But when they did meet, this is when the film shined. Farts and burping aside, which is a common side effect of the virus, Witness Infection does boast some gloriously graphic moments, even if they seemed nearly impossible in real life – a scene with a toilet seat standing out in particular.

WITNESS INFECTION: A Gorey Lack Of Investment
source: Petri Entertainment

Witness Infection also finds success in its score. “Shame” by Bad Bad Hats particularly reminiscent of the rock changes between opening scenes and the transition to the central story found in many horror films in the past. The opening score in particular was intriguing, boasting a reminiscent blend of Jaws, The Shining and The Phantom of the Opera and building the tension through familiarity and pulsating intensity. And while the music quietly resolves itself to just lingering in the shadows for the film’s majority, it returns to the foreground in the film’s more mobster moments, hints of The Godfather reshaping the feel of the film.


Unfortunately, these successes can not push the film beyond one of its biggest flaws – it seems to be in a constant battle with itself on what it wants to be. Does it want to be a mobster or a zombie flick? For the majority of the film, there are no zombies, the majority crescendoing with about 37 minutes left in the film. The comedy and the performances also fall flat, dragged further down by its generic dialogue. There is a lack of energy and zest within the words spoken and lack of depth in the characters provided. Yet, not all is lost, however, with Witness Infection delivering the gore, scenes where they are up against the zombies horrifically entertaining.

Have you seen Witness Infection? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Witness Infection will be released VOD on March 30, 2020.

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