The Incident (2014) follows two seemingly parallel stories, each involving a group of people stuck in a time and space loop. Firstly, two brothers and a rogue cop are trapped in a stairwell with an infinitely replenishing vending machine and secondly, a family stranded on a stretch of road with an ever-replenishing gas station. Trapped in their respective loops, the people must try to get out or find a way to deal with their maddening predicament.
The Incident Review
I'll be honest, I feel like this movie was either too smart for me or too stupid. Movies like this are highly dependent on the ending to carry the value of the film. Psychological thrillers with a scifi element are some of my favorite films. I love the mystery, the twists, trying to solve it along with the characters, and seeing how the characters develop in their interactions with the world and with each other. This film does a decent job of building characters within its looping world, but as with many films that have the looping concept, it gets old.
And it doesn't necessarily get old because of the looping itself. The film does a pretty good job of conveying the repetitious nature of the situation without actually being all-that repetitive. The only time that's an apparent issue is when we cut to the family involved in the second incident and we know where it's going while the family slowly realizes their fate.
Where the real problem lies is in the lack of hope or resolution. It becomes abundantly clear that this movie is going to lack a reasonable conclusion. It's going to jump off the deep end. And boy, does it. The final act is so bizarre, but the real problem lies within the explosion of exposition to explain it all. Two characters begin talking over one another to explain the situation as quickly as possible, but it feels so metaphysical and existential that it misses a powerful impact with the viewer (at least for me), leaving one scrambling to understand rather than coming to a massive understanding of it all.
The film feels like a metaphor for the lifelong struggles of life and that certain moments define who we are and those moments affect us in different ways depending on the period of time in our lives. The approach is in a reverse-Us kind of way, almost, though it takes the shadowing experiences in a much more ethereal direction. It's so thick with interpretation of the meaning and purpose that I reach a point of boredom, unable to retain interest in pursuing the moral compass or the overall point.
The film is possibly just too much for my tiny brain, or its message is too evanescent and bloated to be worth the time. I suppose that's something I would leave to the viewer. I can't completely dismiss it. It has its moments and features some interesting character processing amidst the weird scenario. I also commend the film for managing to create a movie about looping and actually do very little of it on screen. Almost every scene is a progression in the plot amidst the looping, which is an impressive feat in my mind. But beyond that, it was a slow-burn with a philosophical payoff that was to thick to chew on...and I so very rarely feel that way about a movie, as Efrit can attest.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 4/10 Horror Quality: 2/10 Film Quality: 5/10