THE BETA TEST is a new thriller from IFC that includes both sex and murder – perfect for a dark Hollywood satire. If you like the trailer, you should love this movie. I certainly did! A gorgeous mindf*ck. Read our full The Beta Test movie review here!

THE BETA TEST is a new IFC thriller with elements of horror and very dark humor – or satire really. Well, except for the fact that it seems to be very realistic. If you’ve ever been to L.A., you’ll recognize many of the types portrayed in this movie.

If you’re a horror fan and wondering if this movie is for you, then all you have to watch is the opening scene. It is brilliant in its simplicity which is both surprising and brutal. Also, it sets the tone for the movie you’re about to watch, so enjoy.

Read our full The Beta Test movie review here!

Would you be tempted?

The core story of The Beta Test actually stays very true to the title of this IFC thriller. The main character, a soon-to-be-married Hollywood agent, receives a mysterious letter in a purple envelope. In this letter, he is invited to meet up for a no-strings-attached sexual encounter.

He can’t fight the temptations and goes for it. After RSVPing by checking off his preferences and likes in true wedding invitation style. Instead of “chicken or beef?”, then questions are “top or bottom?”.

Along with some much more specific details, which tells us that he definitely has one particular kink. Hey, more power to him. Except for the “minor” fact that he’s about to get married, but maybe that’s why he can’t resist temptation.

In any case, this is only the very beginning of the movie and the encounter goes well. Very well. Only, afterwards, he starts thinking about how it ever came to be. Actually, he obsesses over it. Especially after discovering that a few recent deaths (and murders) may also be connected to these letters in purple envelopes.

THE BETA TEST – Review | IFC Thriller

Welcome to Hollywood!

There is so much about The Beta Test that will sound familiar if you’ve ever read some of the “tell-all”-pieces to come out of the entertainment capital.

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According to the IMDb trivia page for this movie (which may or may not be accurate), some of the dialogue features direct quotes from people working as agents or assistants in Hollywood. And yes, Harvey Weinstein is (appropriately!) mentioned several times.

However, this movie isn’t actually about Hollywood or creepy agents. Truly, it isn’t! It is, however, a damn perfect setting for this particular story.

You do not want to miss out on The Beta Test

Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe are the co-writers and co-directors of The Beta Test which they also star in as colleagues and best friends. The two were also both in The Block Island Sounds (2020) and in 13 Cameras (2015). Hopefully, they will continue making movies as well as acting in them, because this was awesome!

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Check out our 13 Cameras review here >

Jim Cummings is the main protagonist as Jordan since this is definitely his story. And he is brilliant in this. Still, PJ McCabe was perfect as the more laidback and familiar role of the friend, who tries to smooth things out constantly. Other key cast members are Virginia Newcomb, Jessie Barr, Olivia Grace Applegate, and Jacqueline Doke.

For those who like movies to end with answers and a specific “point”, there’s plenty for you as well. It most definitely makes sense and feels like something that is already happening in the world right now (in some sense, anyway).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie, but I enjoyed the trailer, so I went for it. The result, for me, was one hell of a ride and a gorgeous mindf*ck of a story.

THE BETA TEST is out in theaters and On Demand from November 5, 2021.

Details

DIRECTORS: Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe
WRITERS: Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe
STARS: Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe, Virginia Newcomb, Kevin Changaris, Olivia Grace Applegate, Jessie Barr

Plot

A married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, murder and infidelity in this scintillating satire.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard