Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Andrew van den Houten
What's it about
A young man named Alex Borden suddenly finds his intellect growing by leaps and bounds after losing a chess game against a pro in a local park. Soon enough, he begins to see strange things, while people around him begin getting offed in a gruesome fashion.
Is it good movie?
Headspace, first and foremost, has an awesome premise. The idea that we only use such a small percentage of our brains is one not oft-explored by your average horror film. Headspace attempts to offer up the notion that perhaps our limited brain activity might have its bonuses, because in this case, Alex Borden seems to be able to conjure up monsters. The question is, are the monsters real, or do they only exist in Alex's head?
I was really into Headspace, I really was. It's got cameos up the ying-yang, too (Udo Kier, Mark Margolis, that had to be fun stuff for you guys). The budget is low, but every cent shows up on the screen. I dug the flick's basic idea, but unfortunately, I thought the whole thing felt a bit rushed, and somewhat poorly executed. Alex loses his mind so fast, and is constantly bouncing from place to place without a lot of explanation sometimes (chess guy is a prime example, how would that guy ever let him in his home?). Also, I thought that Olivia Hussey (Dr.Murphy) turned in a really lame performance in a role that may have required a bit more delicate acting, as opposed to constantly cupping your hands over your mouth and gasping.
And don't worry gore-iors, there's plenty of blood and guts for your buck. Ripped off faces, shots through the head, nasty cuts and scratches, its all here. I didn't care for some aspects of the monster design either, but I must say, i'll take 'dude in a suit' over 'lame CGI' any day.
The plot tries to tie itself up and make sense. From the outset, we're introduced to Alex's family trauma, which sticks with him throughout the movie, and is where the 'monsters' first materialize. Unfortunately though, in my case, things were a bit predictable after the halfway point (at times, way too predictable), and I thought that the character who knew exactly what was happening and why was ridiculous and unnecessary. With that being said, Headspace is 'made' by one person: Christopher Denham, the young man who plays Alex Borden. His performance is fantastic, and I know this might not be a complimen, but he reminded me a bit of Mark Patton's Jesse Walsh character from Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (without all of the latent homosexuality). His performance is fantastic, and sold me on the film. You can really believe that he is a psychotically damaged individual who is truly struggling with the fine line that blurs his reality. Kudos to Mr.Denham, and I hope to see him again on my screen very soon.
Video / Audio
We are treated to a crisp, clean widescreen transfer whose 1:78 anamorphic picture looked just gorgeous on my new 48" plasma.
Audio was also quite nice, a healthy, loud, 5.1 Dolby digital mix.
This platter is served up with a heaping pile of extras. Let's pass the ketchup, shall we?
Fractured Skulls: The Making of Headspace offers little in the way of anything different from what you'd expect in one of these 'making of' features. It's once again shown that this film was a labor of love, and director Andrew Van Der Houten is someone i'd love to chat with, he seems like an awesome, creative and energetic guy. This feature won't offer much other than what you expect, but I enjoyed watching it.
We also get a commentary track from the filmmakers which was also excellent and wholeheartedly enjoyable. I've said it before, and i'll say it again: when the filmmaker's not just in the project for the money, the passion shines through in their voice.
Want an FX Photo Journal for all your rubber monster nastiness and other assorted goodies? You got it. It's coupled with a short music montage about Bringing the Monsters to life.
How about 15 deleted/extended/alternate scenes? They're here too, and most of them are just awful, especially the extended ending, if they'd have kept that in, oh boy, I would not have been happy. Still though, better here than never to be seen by anyone. Also check out the Dirty Looks featurette, which is short, but rather hilarious, after you watch the movie, you'll know what I mean.
If you enjoyed the movie's score, we get an isolated score only track, which is neat. I didn't think it was so much to write home about, but if you're an audiophile, you'll appreciate this feature.
Don't forget the trailer and talent bios, they round this one out.
Headspace was an enjoyable watch. The plot isn't perfect and seemed a bit rushed, in some ways, the whole thing seemeed like it almost could have been a halloween episode of CSI (minus the detectives of course), but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's fresh, and superbly acted, and looks much better than it should, considering its low budget. I've you've got the room, I suggest giving Headspace a place of its own in your collection.