Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DVD REVIEW: Brain Dead (2007)


DISTRIBUTOR: Vicious Cirlcle Films
RATED: Unrated
GENRE: Sci-Fo Horror
DIRECTOR: Kevin S. Tenney
CAST: Joshua Benton, Sarah Grant Brendecke, SDavid Crane, Andy Forrest
RELEASE DATE: Available Now!
TAGLINE: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste.

PLOT: After an extraterrestrial parasite crash-lands in a backwoods American town – landing squarely on the head of a local fisherman – it sparks a fast spreading zombie infestation. As the brain hungry monsters multiply, three pairs of unlucky misfits convene on a fishing lodge for shelter. With zombies pounding at the door, the stranded, mismatched travelers must band together to stop the invasion – or serve themselves up as a main course. The problem is, they may lose their minds to each other before losing their brains to the zombies.

THE STUFF: BRAIN DEAD comes to us from director Kevin S. Tenney whose film NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988) is an enduring Halloween themed 80's horror-comedy that was recently claimed by the Hollywood remake machine. BRAIN DEAD is a return to his 80's horror roots with a nice gory helping of sci-fi splatter.

The film has a great opening as a asteroid hurls through the cold of space on a collision course with Earth. Upon entry into the planet's atmosphere the asteroid burns to a golf ball sized cinder and strikes a fisherman right on the noggin with a nice loud PLUNK! Nearly  instantaneously the the man turns into a zombified flesh-eating mutant. When his fishing buddy leans in to offer assistance he's grabbed by the the eye sockets and his head is ripped into two - great practical effects, gore hounds will be enthralled. Great start to a fun if redundant horror/comedy.

Alright, our zombie-creature is in place and infecting others via some black vomit. Now how about a ragtag group of victims whom through various improbable means and circumstance end up at the cabin in the woods which escalates into a siege situation as the group attempt to fend off the flesh crazed creatures? A lecherous priest, the young woman he lusts after, two escaped convicts, a park ranger, a police officer and two college co-eds. To be honest the names of these characters just aren't all that important. BRAIN DEAD is not only an apt title but more or less an ideal state of mind when viewing this film, it's a real no-brainer which is not to say it is without it's goofy and gory charm. 

What BRAIN DEAD has going for it is some very good practical effects work though they are leveraged by some equally terrible Syfy level CGI and a familiar but fun premise, definite tones of NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986) here. What doesn't work are the rampant attempts at comedy throughout the film. I couldn't quite tell if the film was going for a 80's comedy/horror flavor or if the comedy was just stale and came across 80's style. I guess it doesn't matter if the effect is the same, right?

DVD: BRAIN DEAD comes to us by way of the always entertaining Vicious Circle Films and is presented in anamorphic widescreen with 2.0 surround sound. Not an astounding looking film nor particularly bombastic in the sound department either but adequate. A good amount of bonus content here none of which I can comment on as the screener was bare-bones.

Special Features
- Commentary by Director Kevin S. Tenney, Producer Greg McKay and members of the cast
- Behind the Screams - The Making of BRAIN DEAD Documentary
- Blooper Reel and Deleted Scenes with optional Commentary
- Theatrical Trails

VERDICT: A low-budget splatter-fest that's worth a watch. I'd place this along the lines of the Spierig Bros. UNDEAD (2003) or Jake West's DOGHOUSE (2009) which mine similiar territory. A decent indie horror interupted by some poor attempts at comedy. A medium recommend from me on this one.  **1/2 (2.5 out of 5 stars)