THE ALPHA TEST *** USA 2020 Dir: Aaron Mirtes. 87 mins
In this sci-fi offering, from director Aaron Mirtes who brought us CLOWNTERGEIST and CURSE OF THE NUN. The near future has seen the human race perfect the self drive car and now have developed robots to help about the house. Top intern JD (Brad Belemijan) is given one of these robots, called Alpha, for all of his hard work. JD’s mother is less than impressed about this and is quite freaked out by her and spends her time avoiding Alpha, shouting abuse at her or banishing her to the garage. Whereas JD and his father find her amusing and have her doing all sorts of chores and menial tasks. JD’s sister, Lily (Bella Martin) feels sorry for Alpha especially as she sees herself a victim of her families bullying as well. She and Alpha become friends and they hang out together as often as possible which goes really well for a time but after making a pact with each other to stand up to bullies and fight for each other Alpha takes matters into her own hands and starts to turn on the family.
Fast paced this holds your attention well and does have some sweet moments between Alpha and Lily. The acting isn’t top notch but I didn’t find it that much of an issue. The Alpha robot (Rae Hunt) looks a bit like a cross between an anonymous household appliance and Kryten from Red Dwarf circa 1990 but in female form which is a tad off putting. She seems more naive than terrifying but her evil side does make an appearance towards the end. The effects for the most part are actually pretty good, some effective wound detail, blood and skull bludgeoning but the robot detail is quite poor. Technology gone bad is no new thing but this tries to impress on you the effects of bullying and abuse no matter who or what you are and make you sympathise with Alpha and is successful in this. Having not received the best response in user reviews I feel these are a bit harsh as I actually quite enjoyed this. It holds your attention, has a decent enough storyline efficiently executed.
Review by Sarah Budd