Asylum Blackout aka The Incident (2011)

Everyone knows someone in a dead end band. They’re usually in their late to mid thirties, play crowd pleasing cover songs, with a smattering of original songs that have received a luke warm reception at best, , and are still labouring under the delusion that they are going to ‘make it big’. In the meantime, they’re financing their pot habit and meagre studio time with a minimum wage job, while their significant others start to realise that musicians are not as attractive at thirty as eighteen, especially when they are unwilling to accept that they are never going to be like Tommy Lee (with the exception of maybe the ridicule and the hepatitis.) and actually grow up.

George and his band mates play in one such band, and as their mandatory ‘day job’ work in the kitchen of an asylum for the criminally insane. One stormy night, a blackout occurs trapping everyone inside, and the inmates end up taking over the asylum, and while this sounds like an excellent setting for our hapless musos to make a music video, it would be quite difficult to concentrate on chord structures while someone is trying to strip you naked and cook you on a gas oven.

I loved the vintage feel to this film, which was very reminiscent of House of the Devil or any Rob Zombie gore fest, and though the plot was somewhat implausible, it in no way detracted from what turned out to be an excellent and very atmospheric horror with a retro twist. Some genuinely good actors, most of whom were Brits posing as pretty undetectable fake Americans, with decent FX, and engaging characters. Within five minutes I was already in love with the understated and intelligent take on a story that’s been done to death.

Alexandre Courtès has made a name for himself on music videos for bands such as The White Stripes and Wolfmother (he’s also done U2 videos but nobody is perfect), but his debut into the world of horror has proven that he is far from a one trick pony, and The Incident has hopefully only wetted his appetite for blood.

I’d actually enjoy seeing a sequel to this, as I think some of these characters definitely have a lot more scope for development, especially the psychotic Harry Green, whose ominous silence spoke volumes, not to mention those teeth… Seedy, and skin crawlingly claustrophobic, this will make die hard fans of classic kill sprees sit up and take notice.

Impressive script, expertly executed, Asylum Blackout is an instant classic for any connoisseur of the modern exploitation genre, now to sit and wait patiently for a UK DVD release …

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