07th May2020

‘The Alpha Test’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Mack Bayda, Brad Belemjian, David Ditmore, Rae Hunt, Bella Martin, Alice Raver, Wynn Reichert, Deborah Seidel | Written and Directed by Aaron Mirtes

Written and directed (and more) by Aaron Mirtes, the man behind last years brilliant American Hunt, The Alpha Test is a thrilling science fiction flick that tells the story of a family who inflict abuse upon their home assistant, an AI who turns out to be way more intelligent than they expected.

It’s one of those fucked up scenarios that works so well as the premise for a horror sci-if movie. A home assistant, something purchased to make life more simple, just happens to have the ability to think and learn. We live in a world where things are no longer merely saved to a disc or drive, but to that invisible technological cloud, and so these things that this assistant learns are stored to the cloud and thus shared with others like them. A robot being abused that can learn, adapt and share this information with other robots? Oh dear. This doesn’t sound good at all, does it?

Now, I thoroughly love this concept, I think it’s bloody fantastic and The Alpha Test has some great ideas going on. The robot design is slick and cool, looking a little like you’d expect a home assistant to look if Google started selling them in a month. Alpha, the robot whom the story follows, played by Rae Hunt, is treated poorly and when it comes to her standing up for herself… well let’s just say it isn’t pretty.

I have a lot to say that are positive about this, and considering the low budget, I think the overall look of The Alpha Test and design of Alpha, are very well done. It’s failures are in some of the logical missteps and awkward holes that speckle the plot from time to time. Alpha goes from knowing very little to knowing a lot without so much as an explanation as to how, and these things become grating and odd. It would be easy to fix.

A strong performance from Hunt as Alpha, and some splendid ideas, The Alpha Test offers an intriguing look at the potential future relationship between humanity and robots, and does so in a film that has plenty of violence to highlight the fine line it treads. The character of Alpha carried the movie, for me, and if you’re into low budget but thoughtful sci-fi then I’d give this one a shot. It’s a fun ride.

**½  2.5/5

The Alpha Test is out now on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures.

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