Friday, 1 May 2015

Friday Night Screening: Brainscan 1994

Pre Virtual-Boy of doom

I get the distinctive idea that people in the 90’s saw us gamers as a bunch of psychopaths waiting to snap, then again, here we have “Brainscan”, a flag holder for worried mommies all over the nation blaming anything but their own parental skills for their kids sudden homicidal tendencies.
A movie about a violent video game in the 90’s? my my, this sounds interesting.
Brought to us in 1994, a glorious year for us gorehounds, this little movie tackles the question of how far one is willing to fall to erase the consequences of a remorseless act.
So let’s go back to a time where the SEGA CD was still a ‘thing’ and figure out why video games are apparently the devil incarnated.

Peeping tom extraordinaire sixteen years old Micheal finds time between his voyeurism sessions and chillaxing like a baller with his typical ”far out dude!” bro to try the game everyone is talking about, Brainscan, a game that is played directly with your brain. Unfortunately after having finished the first disc and mission, that involved sneaking into some poor sod’s house and going Norman Bates on his ass, Michael realizes that the game seems to have consequences in the real world, and he finds himself screwed when the police don’t buy his puppy dog eyes alibi. Even worse, a strange entity follows him around calling himself “the trickster” to make his life a living hell and force him to continue playing, acting like Micheal’s conscience forcing him to take care of the witnesses and erase his tracks. All while we witness the poor little Micheal make time to ask the girl next door out and Micheal’s best friend recreate dialogue from ‘Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure’.
As Micheal continues playing and digs his grave deeper and deeper, reality starts to shift as Trickster makes the game more and more difficult and detective Mc-coldface abnormally good intuitions lead him to his murderer.
can't tell if his face says
"Let's play some super smash brawl"
or "Squeal like a little piggy!"

Okay, let’s get this out of the way, I frigging love this movie. Maybe strange seeing as that in my review of “Satan’s little helper” I criticized it for shining such a negative light on gamers. But in this movie the subject is approached in a much more mature angle. Sure Micheal and his friend are obsessed by horror movies simply for the gore and will play any game with blood in it, and above all doesn't even question the idea of playing a game where the main objective is to perform ruthless homicidal acts for the Lulz.
But the real question this movie asks is: how far is someone gonna go if they believe that their acts are without consequence. Which is a really good and interesting subject regarding the human psychology and the sick dark place that lurks in the human creativity.
So do I like the story? Yes, it’s a murder case  with a bit of a supernatural angle and seen from the perspective of the killer. The message is maybe a little too preachy for me, video games are violent and so on, but let’s remember that it was a very difficult time then, and the idea of blaming something new was simpler than looking at the truth. The questions the movie asks are interesting and it’s an entertaining situation to watch our protagonist get out of.
The characters were all right for the most part, the kid that played Micheal did a good job, and the Trickster is damn entertaining to see. He’s the kind of devil you could have a good laugh with and that could kill you the next moment, all while abusing your house with his questionable feeding habits. I’ll admit that the Trickster is probably the main reason why you should watch this movie, a strange sadistic entity that forces you to continue murdering with as leverage the fear of getting caught? What’s not to love?
And off course we are treated to pre-perfection 90’s CGI and some great practical effects.
The CGI is actually pretty interesting, at time it’s your average 90’s lightning effects, but sometime it seems like they add a painted effect to some of the morphing effects on the Trickster, which give a pretty interesting combination of pre CGI and other canvas techniques.

I really recommend this movie, the story’s good and the ending always makes me laugh. For anyone looking for a cheezy 90’s horror/gore movie with a good twist, I promise you won’t be disappointed, if you don’t mind the teenage drama sprinkled here and there.

Thing I’ve learned from “Brainscan”:
-Damn, so SEGA was evil back in the days, who knew, well, apart from those who know about sonic.EXE I guess.
- Didn’t know the Goblin King and the Leprechaun had a kid, good to know he went into the gaming industry, instead of kidnapping babies or murdering one sixth of  the cast of ‘Friends’.
-Man, I want Micheal’s room. Kid’s got a own electronic butler named Igor. All I got as a kid was a pet lizard I had to catch on my own.
-Who else thinks that “horror movie club” is the best idea for a high school since forcing girls into miniskirts?

Personal rating: 8,5/10

Critical rating: 7/10

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