Dir: Kevin Tenney
Brain Dead utilizes a simple and familiar horror film plot. Six people: two convicts, two hikers, a preacher and one of his devoted followers, end up in a secluded cabin and have to work together against alien controlled zombies to survive. While nothing groundbreaking, it has a decent amount of gore, some nudity and a lot of camp, and you’re going to know if this kind of entertainment is for you within the first ten minutes.
From the beginning, it’s obvious that Kevin Tenney didn’t have much of a budget to work with,and it is to the film’s credit that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. The physical effects and the campy script is where this movie shines. Exploding heads, shotgun-amputated limbs and brain depleted corpses all look messy and convincing enough. The acting is surprisingly good given the subject matter and the character’s interactions with each other are a high point of the film. It’s when CGI is added into the mix that it falls flat. That is not to say that it detracts much from the enjoyment of Brain Dead. This is a movie that knows it’s not a scary film and it plays to its strengths – trying to gross you out a bit, then making you laugh with a little off-color humor.
Most of the action takes place in the final half-hour, and it can feel a bit slow at times due to the bare-bones story. Some of the humor is very topical (for a film made five years before I viewed it, some of the references seemed ancient) and most of the plot is telegraphed way before it gets there, but I can’t fault it for knowing it’s target audience and running with it.
I’ll say it’s worth a watch if campy, gory horror on a budget is your cup of tea.