The Beta Test is a 2021 American dark satire about a married Hollywood agent who succumbs to the offer of an anonymous carnal encounter; he then becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity, and digital data.
Written, directed, edited by and starring Jim Cummings (The Wolf of Snow Hollow; Thunder Road) and PJ McCabe (actor in The Wolf of Snow Hollow; The Block Island Sound; 13 Cameras; The Den). Produced by Mat Braddy, Natalie Metzger, Matt Miller, Edward Song and Benjamin Wiessner.
The movie also stars Virginia Newcomb, PJ McCabe, Kevin Changaris, Olivia Grace Applegate and Jessie Barr.
Shortly before his wedding, ruthless talent agent, Jordan (Jim Cummings) receives a mysterious envelope offering a no-strings-attached carnal coupling with a stranger in a hotel room. Initially amused, then intrigued, he becomes obsessed by the idea and impulsively accepts. But will he regret his choices when his meticulous, superficial world threatens to collapse under the weight of his burgeoning lies?
“The Beta Test is a scathing satire which takes a bloody knife to the bullshit of Hollywood representation using a combination of darkly comedic writing and a beautifully overblown lead performance. It’s impressive stuff from co-writers, directors and stars Cummings and McCabe. While not every arrow hits its target, most do […] The Beta Test is a sociopathic rollercoaster ride.” Backseat Mafia
” …a mixed bag that feels as much a character study as an offbeat dark comedy. The plot feels deliberately off-kilter and chaotic which make it oddly compelling although this won’t be for everyone.” Bloody Flicks
“Does the film bite off more than it can chew? Almost certainly. But it’s that ambition, allied to Cummings’ raw nerve of a performance, and the overall off-kilter rhythm of the film that make it so compelling […] The Beta Test is a fearless piece of filmmaking from Cummings and McCabe. Darkly comedic throughout, and pulsing with energy, style, and fever-pitched anxiety.” Entertainment Focus
” …Cummings and McCabe keep the script tightrope walking on the brink between comedy, horror and thriller as he has his blindfold encounter. Afterwards, of course, there’s only the abyss and questions about who it was, why it was, what does it all mean? Cummings and McCabe want to have it all – and go a fairly long way towards getting it. There’s savage bite to this satire not just regarding the film world…” Eye for Film
“Despite an unnecessarily violent opening that suggests a different kind of film, Cummings and McCabe have made a smart, unsettling thriller that has a lo-fi but undeniably Hitchcockian vibe, with a mystery to be solved and an unwitting sleuth forced to try to clear his name. Disturbing, smart and nihilistic AF…” Film Authority
“It works as a thriller in that it’s compelling, tense and delivers actual jeopardy. But it’s also wry and witty, with a sharp tongue aimed squarely at the insidious nature of Hollywood talent agencies and the fallacy of online personas. It’s a tight, frenetically edited thriller-comedy that’s bold, confident and fun.” Loud and Clear
“The Beta Test doesn’t always work, with the storytelling a little too chaotic and unfocused at times. But you don’t really watch a Jim Cummings movie for its story. You watch it for his unique screen presence, which keeps you gripped throughout, hanging on his characters’ every word.” The Movie Waffler
“The film is entertaining and viewers will laugh watching Jordan’s behavior. They will wonder how far Jordan is willing to go find out who is pulling the strings. The Beta Test is a murky critique of the industry, society and the level of phony this world expects.” Nightmarish Conjurings
“The Beta Test is a furtive satire of Hollywood corruption, a libidinous thriller about how the treacherous risks of adultery have been magnified by #MeToo and the age of digital tracking, and a nightmare of Internet consumerism run amok […]The Beta Test, like Cummings’ The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020), is almost too ambitious, tucking a surfeit of ideas into its heightened surrealist mindscape. Yet the movie, at its best, holds you in its grip.” Variety
In the US, IFC Films will release The Beta Test in select theatrical locations, On-Digital and On-Demand on November 5, 2021.
Main cast and characters:
Jim Cummings … Jordan
Virginia Newcomb … Caroline
PJ McCabe … PJ
Olivia Grace Applegate
Jessie Barr … Lauren
Malin Barr … Annie
Jacqueline Doke … Jaclyn
Wilky Lau … Raymond
Ammar Aldieri … Trent
Image credits: IFC Films | Trailer via Empire MagazineDisclaimer: This website includes affiliate links to Amazon and as an Amazon Associate the owner of this website earns a very minuscule amount from qualifying purchases.