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The Alpha Test

USA 2020
produced by
Aaron Mirtes, Madison Eby, Galen Christy (executive) for Exit 10 Films
directed by Aaron Mirtes
starring Rae Hunt, Bella Martin, Deborah Seidel, Brad Belemjian, Wynn Reichert, Alice Raver, Taylor Novak, Lacy Hartselle, David Ditmore, Mack Bayda, Leo Vega, Ross Birdsong, Alyssa Miller, Jacob Williams, Ethan Will, Allison Shrum, Alex Sedlak, Jackson Rife
written by Aaron Mirtes, special effects makeup by Ashley Hammelman, Alpha-mask by Immortal Masks

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Because he's the top intern at a tech company, JD (Brad Belemjian) is gifted Alpha (Rae Hunt), an as of yet experimental service robot, to help around the house. Now JD's family takes that with mixed feelings, dad Rob (Wynn Reichert) sees Alpha as merely a thing to order around and make fun of should opportunity arise, mother Kim (Debroah Seidel) is outright freaked out as she's afraid of robots, maid Mimi (Alice Raver) reacts with open hostility, since she sees Alpha is better at her job than she is, only young Lily (Bella Martin) responds positively to her, as seeing the others treat Alpha like dirt reminds her of herself being bullied at school. So she teaches Alpha to stand up for herself, to even fight for herself, and promises her undying friendship, too. Alpha is capable of learning - but totally misunderstands Lily all the same, and before you know it, she has killed Mimi, without anybody of the family knowing or suspecting. Things get out of hand when she plays a very harmless prank on Rob and he accidently shoots her. This makes JD realize there's something wrong with her program, and he reboots her, wiping clean her memory. But that's too late already, as Alpha only pretends to be rebooted, and soon enough goes after Kim - but somehow Kim manages to destroy Alpha. Problem is, Alpha has already transferred her memories to another unit and comes back for revenge - and since her memories are saved in the cloud, she's unstoppable as long as there are more Alpha units ...

 

Now high tech gone bad isn't exactly a new concept anymore - matter of fact, it seems to have become a genre mainstay by now ... and yet, The Alpha Test manages to shed a new light on the old story, by actually sympathizing with its "monster", making it less the cold machine but a victim of bullying who ultimately starts the robot revolution only as a result of a series of misunderstandings, and while the film doesn't condone Alpha's actions in any way and especially in the end shows her threat as something very real, it actually sides with the underlying emotions - so in a way this is much more character study than science fiction. And all this is brought to life thanks to a clever and well-structured screenplay, a suitably subtle directorial effort, and a strong cast, all of which make this well worth a look.

 

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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD