THE INCIDENT (2011)
Dir. Alexandre Courtes 81 mins
UK Release: 13th May 2013
A cursory glance over the IMDB trivia of ‘Asylum Blackout’ (as it’s known in America) informs us that two people fainted during the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The cynical side of me questions the accuracy of such a claim, but that said I prepared my smelling salts regardless. They were not needed.
The film is set in Sans Asylum, Washington State in 1989, and revolves around three of the kitchen staff who also happen to be in a band together, George (Rupert Evans), Max (Kenny Doughty) and Ricky (Joseph Kennedy). We see that the band’s rehearsal time isn’t exactly harmonious and there may be cracks appearing with regard to the commitment of certain members.
George in particular is feeling the stress of the band tensions and he finds it seeping into his attitude in work. After a sleep-deprived night, the following day in work is particularly arduous for him, and on the recommendation of a colleague goes for a nap as that night the band have a gig.
Sadly for George, his peace and quiet doesn’t last long as there is a sudden blackout in the asylum, which means an automatic total lockdown. This happens just as the majority of inmates are having their evening meal, and the guards find themselves in total darkness charged with the task of getting everyone back to their rooms. They see no alternative but to enlist the help of George, Max and Ricky to achieve this.
As the challenge of taking the inmates – all with seemingly heightened states of anxiety – back to their rooms begins, it’s not long before the most dangerous among them break free and become detached from the main group. Before they know it the three band mates find themselves holed up in the dark asylum, effectively the prey for the deranged rabid prisoners that roam the building.
‘The Incident’ is a fairly simple picture, where after the initial brief exposition we get down to a straightforward hunter / prey horror film. What lets it down though is its descent into the predictable territory of the inmates suddenly becoming these unhinged crazed maniacs whilst the good guys remain resolutely calm, focused and seemingly quite unshaken by the developing situation.
It’s filmed well, the three bandmates are likeable enough, although we discover relatively little about them. Overall it’s just a ‘meh’ horror flick, an 80 minute diversion within which you’re never bored, but you can’t help the nagging frustration that it could have been a very worthy piece had it been just that bit more ambitious.
5 out of 10