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BRAIN DEAD
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Kevin Tenney

Starring:
oshua Benton
Sarah Grant Brendecke
Michelle Tomlinson
David Crane

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Stay with me on this one. A small meteor falls from the sky into a remote backwoods location where it embeds itself into the skull of a fisherman, turning the guy into a bloodthirsty zombie. In the same neck of the woods, a couple of convicts are being transported between prisons and manage to escape. The convicts then take prisoner a crooked televangelist, his busty assistant, and a couple of girls out hiking. The group hole up in an abandoned fishing lodge, and in doing so stray into the path of the zombie fisherman.

Is it good movie?

After reading that summary of the plot, you're probably wondering why you should even bother with this film.To be honest, I didn't think much of this film either once things started. I mean, it's a zombie film that involves a plot that looks to have been put together using Mad Libs with a liberal dose of B-movie 'magic'. Lo and behold, BRAIN DEAD (not to be confused with Peter Jackson's classic) was a surprisingly fun time that didn't turn out to be the bad joke I initially though it would become.

I love the job that Joshua Benton put forth as the character of Clarence. The guy was able to spit out the snappy lines that at first glance looked like it'd hurt more than anything. Really, take a look at the trailer and the closing line, "Have you ever been shot when it was good!?" in response to Sherry's question of the severity of Clarence's wound. The one-liners aren't the level of Bruce Campbell awesomeness, but they aren't used constantly to the point of annoyance, which is good.

The obvious highlight here is the practical gore effects by Gabe Bartalos, who puts tons of plasma out there, but not so much that the effects come off as being overly cheesy. I mean, there are a few effects (the one involving a dude's head being ripped in half by a zombie after having his eyes gouged out) that are less than believable, but how can you say that with a straight face when you have someone getting a hand shoved through their face and out the back with a handful of brains in tow? There are other effects (namely a shotgun blast to the head that conjures up memories of MANIAC) that capture the over-the-top humour involved in this film perfectly.

Obviously, by the way I've described things, the film isn't perfect. Despite great effort by Joshua Benton and a couple of others, the acting is still hard to watch at times. The CG effects for the black alien goo aren't of the highest quality either, which makes you wonder why director Kevin Tenney didn't go the practical route. Finally, seeing as this is clearly a B-movie, don't expect anything deep to be gleaned from watching the film. Really, it's all an excuse to show gore and various forms of female nudity. But then again, you already knew that, and could care less about much else, right?

BRAIN DEAD won't be confused with higher-budgeted zombie blockbusters anytime soon, nor will it win much acclaim from folks looking for more than just boobs and blood. Still, it's something enjoyable to watch, which is what counts. The acting isn't all that, but what'd you expect with a setup like this? Put it in the same category as Mike Mendez's THE CONVENT: a cheesy blood-filled boobery that doesn't take itself seriously. In other words, lighten up and have fun, dammit!

Video / Audio
The Extras
Last Call

Peter Jackson doesn't have much to fear from this film, but I'm sure he'll understand what Kevin Tenney's going for here. Gratuitous nudity, over-the-top gore and cheesy acting make this BRAIN DEAD a fun little time waster. Just don't expect an underlying message of George Romero proportions.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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