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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Low budget Andromeda Strain, interesting story and worth seeing...

Author: rixrex from United States
2 January 2006

This is available on a double feature Eastwest DVD with Rebane's 2cnd best film, CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT. One reason these two are his best is that he is working here with unknown actors who are putting in commendable efforts, rather than has-been celebrities who are walking through their roles (well, except that Ralph Meeker is here and does a good job). This one is a bit better than CAPTURE mainly because of the interesting storyline involving a odd virus/enzyme micro-organism from space which infects earth life forms and causes a hideous death only when the infected are at sleep, the type of death I won't give away, but it is pretty gruesome. Much more intellectually challenging than any of his other films, I just wish there had been a bigger budget, and some script holes needed filling. Still, for those who like literate sci-fi (relatively speaking) and enjoy things like 1950s Quatermass films, this will be fine. Effects are nearly on par with the Quatermass films too, though 20 years later. And so what if the ending is taken from Night of the Living Dead? What hasn't been stolen from that gem by loads of filmmakers?

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Unsuccessful, but not THAT bad

Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
4 November 2001

I think the previous posters were a little hard on this movie. Yes, it's not a very good movie - it's slow, with some bad dialogue, characters that are annoying and/or unsympathetic, and an ending that rips off NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Yet at the same time, I thought that the premise of the movie was intriguing, and I had to admire the fact that independent filmmakers on a really low budget were tackling something as difficult as a dialogue-driven movie, one that was intended for the drive-in crowd. True, it's not successful overall (to say the least), but occasionally there is something a little interesting, making you think that, with more time and planning, they might have been able to succeed. So while I "boo" the finished results, I will at least applaud the filmmakers intentions.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Night of the Living dead gone sour

Author: ecto216 from Long Island, NY
12 March 2003

If ever there was a movie worthy of criticism, the Alpha Incident is it. Borrowing heavily from Night of the Living Dead, this film is a complete bust. The story keeps the viewer somewhat interested, and the characters aren't that terrible, but nothing could save this film from its blatant, rip-off ending.

Here's the scoop. A couple of average white collar types come into contact with an unknown substance (I gather that's the sci-fi part IMDB makes mention to, because other wise this movie is pure drama) and must remain cooped up in a train station, without sleep in order to survive. Each character is unique and different, but unfortunately, not very interesting. You have your smart mouth, your damsel in distress, your play-it-cool man, the nervous/shy guy, and of course, the complete moron. That may be the only saving grace to this film, the complete moron named `Hank.' Hank is a really funny character and is the only one who kept my attention, only because he's so innocent and dumb. Notables? The film has one, count it, one scene of true gore, but at least it's a goodie.

I recommend leaving this one on the shelf if you're looking for a sci-fi film, because this really isn't a science fiction piece. Sure the cover art on the box might make you think it is, but looks can be deceiving. However, I still give this one a 4 out of 10 for it's classic portrayal of characters. The way the actors talk and move within their parts is perfect. The smart mouth always laughing, the damsel always worried; it's something out of a comic book gone wrong. Anyway, unless you want to see what an impact Night of the Living Dead truly had, don't bother with this.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A nifty and interesting little low-budget 70's drive-in variant on "The Andromeda Strain"

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
3 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A surprisingly solid, engrossing and reasonably tense $1.98 one set wonder drive-in sci-fi thriller in the same strange, deadly disease from outer space medical chiller vein as "The Andromeda Strain." The Viking space probe returns from Mars with an unwanted guest: a weird, fatal, positively unknowable plague which kills its victims when they fall asleep, causing their heads to expand until their skulls crack open and their brains come seeping out. A motley assortment of five people at a remote Wisconsin railway station get the lethal bug and must do their best to stay awake while scientists work around the clock to whip up a cure before it's too late.

Directed, produced and edited as a true labor of low-budget love by Bill Rebane, whose largely awful cinematic track record includes the laughably horrible "The Giant Spider Invasion," "The Alpha Incident" comes across as a most pleasant surprise. Granted, what we have here is very little money, a minimal set, a small cast, strictly elementary music and cinematography, but plenty of ambition and a welcome smidgen of genuine film-making ability. It's the rare movie where its paltry five-and-ten cent production cost and tight, pared down, stripped-to-the-bare-essentials look and feel actually work in its favor; the total lack of potentially credibility-killing high gloss razzle dazzle ensures that the picture's gritty, no-frills style retains an oddly arresting and utterly convincing sense of plain, everyday, true-to-life mundane plausibility which in turn both heightens and strengthens the steadily escalating suspense. Ingrid Neumayer's uncommonly well thought-out script is another substantial plus, scoring points for its increasingly bleak, pessimistic tone (the dark, downbeat ending is especially potent), hard cynical attitude towards secretive, sinister military operations, barbed dialogue ("Don't look at me like I'm crazy -- I'm trying to stay alive!"), clearly drawn and distinctive characters, and an intriguing air of general mystery.

The cast of dependable B-movie vets come through with capable performances: frequent bit player and occasional screenwriter John ("The Witch Who Came from the Sea," "They Live") Goff in a rare meaty leading role as breezy, feisty, antagonistic blue collar hothead Jack, Stafford ("The Stunt Man," "The Forest") Morgan as enigmatic, levelheaded biochemist Sorenson, Ralph ("The Food of the Gods," "Without Warning") Meeker as weary, doddering train depot manager Charlie, Carol Irene Newell as perky secretary Jane, softcore sexploitation film regular John ("The Black Godfather," "This Is A Hijack!") Alderman as coldly rational researcher Dr. Rogers, and, best of all, the always entertaining and invigorating George "Buck" Flower as gabby, gregarious railroad worker Hank, a lovable ol' slob who unwittingly first catches the maleficent contagion when his curiosity gets the best of him. Truth be told, this feature sure ain't no earth-shattering major work of cinematic art, but for a down'n'dirty spare change grindhouse quickie "The Alpha Incident" is fine of its type and packs an unexpectedly strong wallop.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

alpha of the living dead

Author: frank zito ( from United States
2 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually enjoyed this film but i really don't know why. Its mostly all duologue and the majority if the movie takes place in one room. I think the reason why i liked this one so much is because of the character Hank. yes sir.., he just might be my new favorite tobacco chewing, drunk train conductor from any film ever. come to think of it all the characters are hilarious. You got Charlie the perverted old man who stashes his porno mags in a draw at work and checks his young not so attractive employees ass out every five seconds, and the scene where the girl blows her brains out was good for a laugh. I would recommend watching this one on a boring night with a couple of beers. its the kind of movie your better off watching on your own. any film that pays homage to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is OK in my book.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The most artful and creative masterpiece of its time

Author: kakasqid from United States
6 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Understandably, many viewers do not see the true value of The Alpha Incident. Sure, the acting is not necessarily great and the set up is slow, but this is all part and parcel to the overall project. Only the most inexperienced layman would write off this masterwork as a "bad" movie, a "B" movie to be ridiculed. In the case of The Alpha Incident, B stands for beguiling.

As the main characters are sitting in the train station, struggling to stay awake, you find that you, watching the movie, are doing the same thing. Immediately you are transported into the characters' psyches. You become part of the movie, and before you know it, the movie becomes part of you.

So watch, nay, live The Alpha Incident.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Cheap and likable virus outbreak movie

Author: Red-Barracuda from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
23 October 2010

A virus from space is released accidentally while in transit on a train. It results in a group of people in a remote train depot being subject to quarantine and left isolated, while the scientists try to work on a cure.

The Alpha Incident is a paranoid sci-fi film in the same vein as The Andromeda Strain, with elements of George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead and The Crazies thrown in for good measure. It isn't a patch on either of those films although it's fairly decent, all things considered. It's admittedly quite badly paced, however, with a little too much talk to pad things out. Still, the set-up is good enough and the overall cynical 70's sci-fi vibe works for me. There's only one occasion when we see the effects of the virus on a human and it's actually surprisingly decent – they could really have done with using this a little more. The effect is basically the brain expanding and breaking out of the cranium of the unfortunate victim. This is the horrible death that the infected people are trying to avoid. For some reason this nasty scenario only kicks in when the victims fall asleep, so for most of the film the story seems to be about people trying to stay awake – a symptom that I'm sure some viewers of this movie will experience too funnily enough.

But, for me, this isn't a bad effort overall. It's definitely one of director Bill Rebane's best. He operated in the Z-Grade side of the cinematic spectrum for sure but his films have an honest earnestness that is easy to get behind. And this is a relatively thoughtful narrative for Bill's standards. However, its cheap limitations are never truly averted, and it doesn't develop the space virus thread of the story as well as you hope and the film ends up being essentially about people in a room popping amphetamines. But, you know what, I kind of like this one anyway.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Decent zero budget science fiction suspense

Author: t-birkhead from United Kingdom
26 August 2008

I had a pretty sweet time with this outing from the great Bill Rebane. Its probably the best film I've seen from him, perhaps lacking the lunacy appeal of The Demons Of Ludlow but better on the whole. The minimal plot involves some unfortunate folk quarantined in a rail depot after exposure to a nasty space microbe which will kill them if they sleep. The fun comes in seeing how they will attempt to make it through and the tensions that arise from their contrasting characters rubbing together in the nightmare situation. This could have been a real bore what with the talky nature of the piece and the slow pace but the overall fine acting gives it a real boost. George 'Buck' Flower, typically plays a chatty, mumbling, boozy type and gives it his customary fine performance, John F. Goff is suitably oily as the token obnoxious type and Ralph Meeker is sympathetic as the slow witted manager. Carol Newell is just fine as the lady of the piece and Stafford Morgan is suave and convincingly calm and collected as a government man. Their interactions and efforts to stay awake make for good watching and the tension slowly rises throughout, to an ending that while not surprising in general terms has enough unpredictability to be somewhat effective and affecting. There's even a cool cheapo effects sequence to amuse any folk put off by the talking. Altogether this is a decent movie, somewhat more effective than its low budget and low key nature would suggest. There are definitely a few bits that could have been tighter and the script does throw up a few ides that aren't used to their best advantage but this is still worth a look.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Like watching paint dry.

Author: graduatedan from Canada
13 April 2007

This very slight "thriller" has flashes of inspiration visually, but is weighed down by less than stellar acting and a wretched script. The story concerns an organism recovered from a space probe that-get this- is being transported by train guarded by one man. The crate containing the organism is tampered with and before you know it, complications ensue. There's very little action and long stretches of corny dialog delivered in a leaden manner. I 'm not sure if the director intended this film to be a character study or a thriller, but either way, The Alpha Incident fails miserably. Saved from a no star rating by interesting photography and occasionally effective editing.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

It was really really unexpectedly good!

Author: siderite from Romania
18 October 2012

You have to rate movies based on their genre and/or budget. As such, this one is close to perfect. It felt like a (very low budget) combination between the original The Andromeda Strain and the original Night of the Living Dead. It is not with monsters, though. You will see what I mean when you watch the film.

The actors are 10 in all, and they act like normal people. None of them are known, but they are really decent. The story itself is interesting and the dialogue good enough. It actually feels like it's real, which was the point of the movie all along.

Therefore I highly recommend watching this, but keep in mind that it is a low budget film that has its strengths in plot and human reactions, not in outlandish ideas and special effects.

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