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Incident, The (2011)

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Starring Rupert Evans, Kenny Doughty, Unax Ugalde, Dave Legeno, Anna Skellern, Richard Brake, Eric Godon, Joseph Kennedy, Marcus Garvey

Directed by Alexandre Courtes


If horror fans have learned anything from thrillers dealing with the criminally insane, it is that these types of individuals are enigmatically strong and are just as deadly as they are crazy. Alexandre Courtes’ first full-length feature film demonstrates and exploits this stereotype by surprisingly elevating the mood and visceral carnage not seen in other films dealing with the same subject matter. Sadly, though, this gore-laden horror film relies on too many cheap torture porn tricks to keep the audience’s interest and is just another example why the horror genre is not easily respected by many since CGI bloody chills and moments are no substitutes for character and plot.

Set in 1989, George, Max and Ricky (Evans, Doughty and Kennedy) are three close friends in a rock band that hasn’t quite taken off just yet. To pay the bills, all three of them work together as cooks in the kitchen of a “supposedly” high security insane asylum. Unfortunately one night just before feeding time, a thunderstorm causes everything in the asylum to shut down (including the much needed security system), and the psychotic patients go on a rampage looking for blood. The police are on their way, but not soon enough, and these three friends are going to have to find a way to fight, hide and most importantly survive before they can be rescued.

On a visceral level, The Incident manages to capture the feeling of claustrophobia through its dimly lit surroundings and the closed in ward corridors of the asylum. Director Courtes also gets a helping hand from cinematographer Laurent Tangy and known editor Baxter (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D), who are all responsible for amplifying the feeling of despair with the gritty backdrop of the insane asylum. The shots of the interiors of the kill-friendly ward corridors are rendered darkly and easily invite the sense of impending doom that envelopes the asylum.

Also, anyone who is looking for handfuls of carnage candy will be easily entertained by the grisly deaths and torture sequences that harbor a few memorable moments—one of which includes a grisly scene involving a kitchen utensil that is quite similar to an infamous and sickening moment shown in the under-seen horror film Farmhouse.

Regrettably, the film’s strong highlights are not enough to overlook its many faults. Although viewers will be rooting for the employees to escape the mental institution, it’s difficult to feel scared for them since for two-thirds of the film they act strangely calm and collected (blame it on the marijuana) instead of being the train wrecks any civilian would be in this horrific situation.

Also, the escaped lunatics do not quite induce spine tingling chills up your spine since they are all reduced to acting like the stereotypes typically seen in past horror films. They are unexplainably subhuman and resemble the incestuous cannibals shown in Alexandre Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes, which is not exactly groundbreaking territory in this genre.

Although The Incident is engaging enough to sit through, it brings up far more questions than answers, and anyone who is not angered by the ambiguous ending truly deserves a medal. With a more intricate script, the film could have been so much more than just the gruesome and unremarkable incident it turned out to be.

3 out of 5

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Serena Whitney