[Movie Review] THE ALPHA TEST

THE ALPHA TEST is written, directed, produced, and edited by Aaron Mirtes. It’s a sci-fi thriller about a suburban family who drives their new “Alpha Home Assistant” to murder and beyond that a full-blown artificial intelligence uprising, by abusing her.

The premise of this film is pretty much our worst nightmare. The home assistant that is supposed to be making our lives easier decides that it’s had enough of our human bullshit and kills us all. However, in THE ALPHA TEST, the home assistant is a humanoid robot who thinks, learns, adapts, and is stored on the cloud and connected to all the other Alphas so they can learn from each other. This is just a bad idea from the get-go. Add to that the fact that this Alpha was given to a horrible family who completely mistreats her and yep, total AI uprising.

From a story point of view, I feel like that’s something the designers and programmers would have thought of…but, to be honest, there are so many holes in this story that this one issue hardly ranks. Alpha (Rae Hunt) goes from not knowing what a knife is (something I find hard to believe since she cooks…I mean, does she cut everything with a spoon?) to knowing how to use a gun and make acidic poison. She can’t go in the water or get wet, but she can do dishes and clean bathrooms? And it turns out that the stored memories of one Alpha can be uploaded onto a new Alpha, just by turning on the new one. Y’all I have some serious questions about the rules in this movie.

What I don’t have questions about is the passion that went into making this film. It’s clear that this is Mirtes’ pet project and his creativity shows. THE ALPHA TEST design is simple but effective and that simplicity, plus the solid performance by Hunt, keep it grounded in reality instead of taking it to a more futuristic place. In fact, my favorite thing about this film was Hunt’s portrayal of Alpha. Her ability to emote from behind a lifeless latex mask, mixed with her choice of voice inflections really made me feel for the character.

Unfortunately, overall, this movie didn’t really do it for me. There were too many holes in the story and not nearly enough explanation of how certain things were allowed to happen. That said, the thought of an artificial intelligence uprising will always be terrifying and I think it’s fun to see how different people interpret it happening.

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