Incidental Image


By Alan Ng | May 5, 2022

The logline for Dustin Nowlin’s short thriller, Incidental, says, “members of a broken family go to a motel to work out their differences.” It says nothing about how bat-s**t-crazy this film is, and I love it. The broken family consists of siblings Alex (Annie Unk) and Danny (T.J. May) and their foster mother, Kathy (Joyce Johnson).

The “working out” part consists of a helpless Kathy tied to a chair, Danny pointing a gun to her head, and Alex acting as the ring leader. The first half has Alex and Danny essentially torturing Kathy, hoping to gain some vital information, while the second half has the pair “cleaning up” afterward.

“…has Alex and Danny essentially torturing Kathy, hoping to gain some vital information…”

The appeal of Incidental is the “balls to the wall” craziness that runs from start to finish. Annie Unk and T.J. May are absolutely insane, and Joyce Johnson is perfect as the scared victim who “did nothing wrong.” While watching this briskly paced film, there was concern from my family about why there was so much screaming coming from my office. Alex and Danny have been carrying their abuse for years and finally decide to act on it in a sadistic manner.

I appreciate the tone and swagger Incidental gives off for a low-budget indie film. The shot composition is creative and tells the story well. My only complaint is the color tone/correction. If you’ve ever tried to make a film, you know the difference in color you get when shooting indoors vs. outdoors and the amount of effort it takes to match the two. Other than that, strap in and enjoy the wild ride.

For screening information, visit the Incidental Film Freeway page.

Incidental (2022)

Directed and Written: Dustin Nowlin

Starring: Annie Unk, T.J. May, Joyce Johnson, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Incidental Image

"…I appreciate the tone and swagger..."

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