Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A younger fellow moves into the abandoned, condemned house of his deceased grandmother that was apparently left to him in his will 5 years ago. The only problem is that he seems a bit unstable (or does he?) as he's suffered some head trauma from a car accident we see at the beginning of the film. Now, as he sleeps, he sees a hooded figure, and this figure isn't exactly bringing peaceful imagery.
Is it good movie?
Heading into this movie, I was somewhat primed for a 'hidden gem' type title that was going to truly mess with my mind, jumping in there and snipping a few wires. Unfortunately, what I ended up getting was a merely average film that was ultimately a disappointment.
Our main character is George Walker, who is played by Vince Mola (who does a rather excellent job, really). George is a bit of a loser, a sort of drifter who the audience never really learns much about, so it’s hard to really ever care about him one way or another. He's actually a bit of a creep. He hadn't been seen in his old hometown for years, but really had no problem banging on the door of an old girl friend at 1am, asking her if he could sleep over because he was scared of his house.
To be honest, there isn't much to the story. Most of the movie plays out like an episode of some home improvement show. George and his forced help from next door spend a lot of time cleaning up the absolute dump that is his house, from the garbage all around, to trying to bail out the water in the basement. One of the only moments of personal conflict in this story comes when George assaults a fellow who used to give him trouble for not allowing him to use his water pump to get water out of his basement.
Now, of course, what about the hooded figure and the visions George kept seeing? Yes, there are a few moments in that scary old home that provide scattered jumps and jolts due to creative camerawork and claustrophobia, but other than that, these moments are quick-cut, sped up little clips of something that either happened before, or has happened again. There are times when you can't tell if George is awake or asleep, but that doesn't have much of an effect.
Unfortunately, the whole 'foreshadowing through quick cuts until a big explanation scene at the end' doesn't really hold a lot of water with me, and while I thought the ending of this film did make sense, it didn't really hit me in some kind of profound manner, and I don't want to spoil things, but George's Head Trauma must have really affected him for him to remember (or not remember) what happened.
Head Trauma is well acted, competently directed, and looks ok too, but is really a slower paced film that doesn't really go anywhere, as if it’s riding all on its big resolution ending.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in a widescreen picture, shot on DV, this film looked nice, but there's no aspect ratio to be found.
Audio comes in Dolby 5.1 surround, and I thought sounded great.
We get a director's commentary from Lance Weiler, and he's an intelligent fellow, if you like this movie enough, I’d listen to this one.
There are a few short cast interviews that don't really bring anything to the table.
A short 7 minute featurette on how to blow up a car (literally), pretty straightforward and kind of neat.
Shooting in the House is another short featurette that talks about finding the right house for this movie, and how scary it was.
John Magdic is another short one that talks about the weird flying contraptions used in this flick to get aerial shots, so the film wouldn't go over budget. Neat!
S.S Bissette discusses briefly the art of Head Trauma
seemed to me to be a bit pretentious, a phone interview with someone who loved this film as he rambles on about the comic style of the film.
Finally, there's a music featurette, and some trailers too.
I was disappointed by Head Trauma, but it's not awful. It's well acted and directed, but to me, didn't add up to enough to invest my time watching it. It is definitely atmospheric though, and has some creepy moments and a brain in its head, so for those reasons, I mildly recommend it.