FILM- Brain Dead begins with two good ‘ol boys fishing out in the boonies. Well, one of their skulls turns out to be the landing pad for an alien parasite, who just so happens to be a brain devouring, zombie inducing slug. After quickly turning the other fisher into lunch, the zombified hick begins hunting for dinner.
Also in the woods today are two backpacking med students, an Evangelical pervert and his eye candy secretary, and two convicts (one hit the Sheriff’s car, the other was being transferred to a maximum security prison for multiple murders). They all find themselves upon the fishing shack owned by the yokels from the fishing trip, which is surprisingly vacant.
While the psychopathic convict, Bob, rounds up everyone in the house with a shotgun, the zombie infects a cop, who begins to look for his own meal. A local Park Ranger, Sydney, out looking for the missing fishermen decides to check their cabin, and is greeted by Bob with a few rounds of buckshot. While none of the rounds kill Sydney, the infected cop has found his snack, and promptly devours her head.
After witnessing this, the group now realizes they are stranded, with Bob in the cabin and something worse out in the woods. But, as it turns out, if you mix both of the problems together, you get zombie Bob, and that just might be worse than anything than can happen in these woods tonight… at least until the fisherman zombie show up too…
Brain slugs, zombies, 80’s. You’re going to immediately get the Night of the Creeps vibe, and that’s not really what this movie feels like. In all honesty, only a few places in the film have a true 80’s vibe, and the rest just feels like a contemporary gore film. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but to me it felt like Brain Dead tried WAY too hard to feel retro, and ended up just seeming like a modern low budget horror flick.
Despite it’s flaws and short comings, Brain Dead was a really fun film. There’s some shitty, absolutely God awful CGI, but when it comes to practical effects, it looks fantastic. Dismemberments, brains being ripped from skulls, exploding heads (seriously, there’s so damn many it should have been called “Headsplosion: The Movie”), and yucky alien goo being vomited- this film does a DAMN good job on the practical effects.
While the bad CG might ruin the vibe for some, what really killed it for me was the dialog. It’s this cheesy, puny dialog that pretty much rams the 80’s culture down your throat (there’s even a Whitney Houston joke). Now it works, it’s funny- but again, it’s trying too hard. I don’t even think there were this many 80’s references in the 80’s. The one liners are really cleaver, and the movie has a good sense of humor, but it’s just too overbearing at times.
As for the zombies, they look more like demons. I get the whole “alien zombies” don’t look like “zombie zombies”, but these just look like demons from a Full Moon film. Again, this is a retro buzz kill. The only thing that feels truly 80’s about this film is the pubic hair, which it surprisingly has a good amount of. Well I guess the absurd amount of nudity in general feels 80’s, but it’s really the only thing.
If it seems like I disliked the movie then I’m giving the wrong impression. Despite fact it failed at being a retro homage, it succeeds at being a modern low budget flick. It’s one of those movies that you just pop in and turn your intelligence off for an hour and a half. While entertaining as hell, Brain Dead is really basking in the wrong light. As long as you watch it with an open mind and a dead brain (see that bad pun? This movie is already rubbing off on me…), you can’t really go wrong. 8/10.