Saturday, June 9, 2012

Brain Dead

Title Brain Dead
Directed By Kevin Tenney
Written By Dale Gelineau
Starring Joshua Benton, Sarah Grant Brendecke, Michelle Tomlinson, David Crane, Andy Forrest, Cristina Tiberia, Jim Wynorski, Tess McVicker, Greg Lewolt, Chad Guerrero, Elizabeth Lambert
Release Date 2007
DVD Distributer Vicious Circle
MPAA Rating Not Rated
By It Now On

Brain Dead, home of the snatch attack!

Lets get something straight right out of the gate, the best horror films are usually the fun ones. There is something to be said for morose no nonsense ass kickers like Eden Lake to be sure, but the ones I remember the most and return to frequently are the ones with a sense of humor. How many times have you watched Re-Animator, Return of the Living Dead, or Night of the Demons? If your tastes run similar to mine, the answer is, a lot! These were all fun movies worth repeated viewings. The man behindNight of the Demons, Kevin Tenney, is back, and this time he has given us Brain Dead!

Filled with outstanding nudity, great gore effects from Gabe Bartalos, goofy one liners, and excellent performances from the entire cast, Brain Dead is yet another exemplary genre film from a man who gave the world films like the above mentioned Night of the Demons, along with Witchboard and Peacemaker, just to name a few! Combining alien invasion with the siege film, Tenney has managed to produce yet another film that never attempts to be something it isn't.

Opening with a shot of a meteorite hurtling through space towards Earth, Tenney wastes no time establishing where this bad boy is going. In the first five minutes there is an eye gouging followed immediately by a man having his head split in half for the sweet treat inside! Having established the tone of what is to come, the audience is then introduced to the characters who must face the space menace!

'Clarence and Bob'(David Crane and Joshua Benton), are a pair of escaped convicts unlucky enough to escape right in the middle of this hostile alien attack. Travelling through the woods the pair find themselves at the same cabin where lost hikers 'Sherry and Claudia'(Brendecke and Tomlinson) have already set up camp as they try to establish their bearings and make sense of a map. Add to the mix, a perverted Preacher (Andy Forrest) who likes to pontificate for poon, and his well endowed nubile neophyte 'Amy' (Cristina Smoots), and you have yourself a humor laced siege in the making!

One of my favorite elements of Kevin Tenney's films are his casts. Brain Dead is no exception, the film works not only due to its driving pace that never lets up, but because of excellent casting choices. There are no wooden heads here, just solid thesping accentuating the delightfully silly story. Michele Tomlinson as 'Claudia Bush', steals the show in a starmaking turn as a bitchy lesbian unsuccessfully attempting to entice her traveling companion 'Sherry' (Sarah Grant Brendecke), to the wonder of sapphic coupling, or for the less literate, to let 'Claudia' butter her muffin without stuffin'. Tomlinson rules the roost providing the lynch pin that anchors the story. Michele Tomlinson first came to my attention via her appearance in the excellent, underrated thriller, The Cellar Door. Once again, she proves herself the kind of actor capable of carrying a project, even if it is only in a supporting role. As an actress Michele exudes a confidence and professionalism rarely seen in low budget horror flicks.

This film is silly, the premise is preposterous, and yet it all works because of Tenney's gift for well drawn characters and economical storytelling. Nothing is superfluous, every second of film is filled with action that either accentuates or titillates. By not allowing the story to become inert through unnecessary extrapolation the film never stalls. Keeping it simple, Tenney delivers only meat with no extra starch. Less is more, andBrain Dead is definitely more!

If you haven't already caught this one at a screening, go buy yourself a copy, this is just the kind of Brain Dead fun sorely lacking in the sea of downer fests prevalent in genre cinema of late.

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