Yet another variation of horror-movie tropes that date back beyond "Night of the Living Dead," "The Incident" wrings only modest suspense and low-voltage shocks from what might seem like a surefire setup: Rock musicians moonlighting as cooks in a high-security insane asylum are menaced by inmates during a storm-triggered power outage.

Yet another variation of horror-movie tropes that date back beyond “Night of the Living Dead,” “The Incident” wrings only modest suspense and low-voltage shocks from what might seem like a surefire setup: Rock musicians moonlighting as cooks in a high-security insane asylum are menaced by inmates during a storm-triggered power outage. In his debut effort as a feature filmmaker, musicvid director Alexandre Courtes uses spooky visual flourishes to distract from the shortcomings of a formulaic scenario that steadily devolves into muddled confusion. Only diehard genre fans will take note at niche fests and on homevid.

George (Rupert Evans), Max (Kenny Doughty) and Ricky (Joseph Kennedy) are the none-too-talented rockers who must barricade themselves in the asylum kitchen while inmates — usually heavily medicated and relatively docile on the other side of a large window — get progressively more bloodthirsty as the long, dark night unfolds. Naturally, the window is broken, other asylum employees are annihilated, and outside help is very, very slow to arrive. Narrative logic is occasional, and dream-scene fakeouts don’t help. Lead performances are competent without being terribly compelling.

The Incident

France

Production

A WY Prods. production in association with Artemis, SND Groupe M6 and Direct Cinema. (International sales: SND Groupe M6, Paris.) Produced by Wassim Beji. Executive producers, Roy Lee, Doug Davison. Directed by Alexandre Courtes. Screenplay, Jerome Fansten, S. Craig Zahler.

Crew

Camera (color), Laurent Tangy; editor, Baxter; music, Christophe Chassol; production designer, Paul Rouschop; costume designer, Catherine Marchand. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 12, 2011. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Rupert Evans, Kenny Doughty, Joseph Kennedy, Dave Legeno, Marcus Garvey, Richard Brake. (English dialogue)

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