Oh dear, there comes a time as a reviewer when you are push, push, pushed to the limit of what you can stand but you forge ahead, you push on because darn it, you have a job to do. I dunno though kids, lately, well lately I am feeling the weight of this hobby. I love movies. Clearly. And I admire people who can put it all together to MAKE a movie. The thing is though that, as a fan of movies (and trust me when I say that I like some sketchy movies) I get very bored with films that are short on ideas and originality. You can make any movie for any price if you have the skill to tell the story simply (or grandly if you have that dough sitting around), alas, too many young filmmakers fall into the habit of making movies that are made more in the editing room than on their sets and which seem to put more thought into their promotional campaigns than the stories themselves. And so, I bring you Brainjacked.
The film opens with an angry young man waking with a searing headache. Living in his mother and stepfather’s home he soon finds himself kicked out when he refuses to play nice during a very interesting sex film shoot involving dear old mom. Now though, he is on the street and his headache is even worse. Enter Laney, a strange angel dressed more for a rave than an evening in an isolated park but she is perfectly suited for helping our young man with his problem. It seems she was discovered by a doctor after she had the same issues as he is having and he was able to help her as well as many others who suffered the same issue. Despite his attraction to her, he is resistant to her suggestion of his meeting the doctor, at first, but the lure of ending the horrible headaches is too much to resist so he follows her to what is essentially a commune with several other young people who all have scars on their foreheads and who all claim to have suffered from the same headaches as he did. The scars, it seems are part of the cure to their problem, something the doctor is very happy to do. The cure isn’t as easy or, well, bloodless as the kid may have hoped. You see, to cure the young people the doctor removes what we find out is a false hand and beneath is a drill which he uses to drill holes into the skull to relieve the pressure on the brain. Despite his trepidation about the trepanation (mwahahaha, come on, that’s pretty clever, no?), our lad goes through with the operation and to his gleeful surprise his headache is gone but with it he has also loses time. He will be in the middle of something and suddenly blink out and then will blink back into an utterly different moment which he cannot remember getting into. This becomes a problem when he awakens during a strange fight between the members of the doctor’s commune and another group, and suddenly things don’t look as pristine and safe in his new home. And as his suspicions grow, so does the danger and as the young man begins to learn the truth behind the doctor, his commune, and his surgeries, a truth that may cost him his life, and the life of the woman he loves.
Well, as groundbreaking as the story may sound, alas, it is far from that. Logic is tossed out the door so the filmmakers can embrace the absurdity of their plot. Yes, this is a film about people getting holes sloppily drilled into their heads to relieve headaches, which seems a bit odd since the drilling (despite a local anesthetic) would hurt a bit more. Perhaps I am wrong. But the idea of what the headaches are is never full explained, why the doctor is up to shenanigans is a bit cloudy, and why there is a sort of militia/gang out to get the doc and his kids is, well, weird. I mean, in a loose way it all works, in a loose, sloppy way, but in the end the film is all about quick edits, yelling, and a romance that has as much steam as frozen vegetables. The film moves quickly, sure, but it moves too quickly so that no characters are fleshed out and the villain of the film, the doctor, comes off as a laughable parody of evil. The fact that he has a huge drill bit for a hand is straight out of a bad spy movie. The direction is a bit flat, the acting is passable, the gore, when it gets going at the end, is pretty rowdy, but the film just feels like, well, a young filmmakers attempt at making a movie. I applaud the courage to take on a sci-fi story but wish more time would have been spent ON the story. In the end, what you are left with is a brash, in your face film that wants to be hardcore, wants to be rough, and wants to be edgy but which really ends up tepid, boring, and silly with an ending that is ridiculously nihilistic.
When officially released at the end of August 2010, the film will have a lot of extras such as commentaries, a short film, a behind the scenes featurette, and more. The film has a grainy look with a stereo soundtrack.
So, sure, it is watchable, and some will find it a fun show, but for me, it’s too much like a broke man’s attempt to do Cronenberg, and it just didn’t come together.
5 out of 10