The Incident has all the components of a great midnight movie: a siege premise with a twist, great kills and a variety of monsters. The filmmakers just can’t make it work. It’s tonally miserable and dramatically inert.
It’s a siege from the inside, which is an interesting twists. The inmates of an institution for the criminally insane get free during a power outage. After the security guards fail to contain the situation, only the chefs and servers in the kitchen are left to fend off the patients.
The film is shot well but probably not directed well. The setups and steady camera look like a legitimate movie, but something about the scene is off. Even for a plain instution, the set is too empty. Obviously it’s low budget, but the details give it away. A throwaway scene in a hospital room just looks like an office they put a bed and an IV in.
The characters are really F’ing annoying, so that’s another problem with the direction. Alexandre Courtes couldn’t reign it in. They’re all scruffy wannabe rock stars and they look unclean, so one, it’s creepy to see them working in a kitchen handling food, and two what a damn cliché.
George (Rupert Evans) is the sympathetic one, just because he’s responsible in his job and doesn’t treat the inmates terribly. Max (Kenny Doughty) is supposed to be the A-hole but he comes off as such a bitter creep berating the mentally challenged that it’s not even fun to see him get his comeuppance. Ricky (Joseph Kennedy) is generic enough I guess.
The guards are ridiculous too. I know they have to maintain discipline, and they can’t exactly reason with people in the condition these inmates are in, but I don’t buy this R. Lee Ermy wannabe screaming like a drill sergeant and choking out not one, but two problem inmates. That’s not going to maintain any order.
It’s also so stupid that the guard asks the cooks to help him wrangle the inmates. I don’t care how short staffed they are in a crisis. The hospital would never go near the liability that suggests towards the non medical employees or the inmates in their care. I guess that become irrelevant once it’s about survival, but it shows an underdeveloped script.
The Incident is set in 1989 so there are no cell phones to worry about. There are a few solid moments of trying to barricade a room and some surprises. The inmates are a diverse collection from the babbling to the cold, deliberate killers, even a funny one to show insanity takes all forms.
What keeps the film from being any fun is the pace is so slow that a small burst of energy isn’t enough to recover. The atmosphere is just unpleasant, not scary, so the kills aren’t glorious. The victims linger in captivity a while, so you’re just staring at a dirty body with minimal torture. I could applaud a few moments where The Incident goes there but it’s clearly a first film that’ll be a tough lesson for the filmmakers to take.