The Alpha Incident

MAY 21, 2007


You know, if I never see another Bill Rebane movie in my life, I'll die a happy man. But I don't plan to watch another one by next week so I guess it's a safe bet.

The Alpha Incident is by far his worst movie. A group of people are exposed to some alien virus and are quarantined inside a building. What could have been a great, Thing style claustrophobic chiller is instead a boring mess. Instead of anything interesting happening (contrary to what the composer tries to make us believe with his nonstop ominous loops), we get four folks (five if you count Buck Flower (!!!) who wisely exits halfway through. We're with ya George!!!) sitting in what looks like a regional car insurance office for 80+ minutes (more irritation - the DVD listed a running time of 86 minutes, but it was actually 95) talking about amphetamines, glucose, radios.... it's as dreadfully boring as it sounds.

Speaking of the music, you know that sound you hear if your video camera is hooked up to the TV and you point the camera at the TV? That sound plays over an entire scene for some reason, only to randomly cut out at one point. OK.

Sometimes we cut to a "lab" (read: high school science room) with "scientists" (Rebane's friends) "racing" (looking at microscopes) "against" (uh... opposed to?) the clock to cure the quarantined leads before they fall asleep and die. These scenes are as boring as the others, but at least it's a different room. There's also some sort of head doctor guy who occasionally calls the main folks to update them on the status of a cure. Or not. At one point he calls to simply say "I just talked to the lab. No progress." Then why the fuck did you call at all?

And, you know, no one expects a technical masterpiece from Rebane, but here he doesn't even seem to be trying (to fail). There's a scene early on of two people talking for what seems like seven and a half hours, and they are both looking screen right as we cut back and forth. Unless the characters are Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling, this is a giant cinematic no-no, and the fact that the scene goes on and on just makes it worse. Course, the only other angle of the room is an angled down one from a corner in the office, presumably achieved by placing the camera on top of a filing cabinet, so it's not much of a surprise.

The ending, as is typical of Rebane, can't be bothered to involve any sort of actual climax, with our lone survivor being shot (I think) and the movie freeze frames with him looking down at his "wound", roll credits. Whatever.

Sample dialogue: "I think it's time we took amphetamines." Me too.

What say you?


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