Director – Kevin Van Stevenson (Daytona)
Starring – Danny Hansen (The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All), Frankie Ray (The Horde), and Shenik Taylor (The Mentalist)
Release Date – 2016
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Something’s in my head”
Zombie movies are everywhere right now. We have The Walking Dead to thank for that. Personally, I love the sub-genre that was ushered in by the classic film Night of the Living Dead. The sub-genre would go through phases every few years but much like the zombies themselves, it would never truly die. Every few years a movie will be released that reminds people how much they love zombie movies.
This is a trend I first noticed in the early 2000s when Dead and Breakfast was released. We would get a memorable film like that followed by a dozen or so imitation flicks trying to cash in on the popularity. However, that has all changed when The Walking Dead first aired. Now zombies are everywhere. We have candy, songs, children’s books, and now countless zombie films released to the masses. It is hard to find good movies in this sea of zombie flicks and unoriginal but when we do we cherish them even more than we normally would. Recently, Brain Damage Films/Midnight Releasing sent me the zombie film On the Brain. It looked fun so when I had a moment I popped it in. Looks can be deceiving.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a small town cop, Sherriff Kelly (Hansen) who has been seeing the town doctor Mariama (Taylor). A woman stumbles into the station who appears to be battered. She is frantic and tells them that her husband did it but he didn’t mean to. She refuses to press charges and runs from the station back to her husband. He is bloody and acting violent. He chases her to a truck where he bashes in the windshield and kills her. When another man goes crazy and attempts to kill a woman in a diner the sheriff suspects something more is at play. He partners with his girlfriend but things turn tricky when the mayor tries to shut him down and a former flame pays him a visit. He must get by her sexual advancements and the asshole mayor to save the people of his town.**Spoiler Alert**
I was actually looking forward to On the Brain. I do enjoy the zombie sub-genre even though it is played out by this point. Before you continue reading my review you need to check what I gave the movie. See that? I gave the film a 2.5 out of 5. The film was actually going to get a 4 out of 5 before the half way point in the film. After that it went all to hell and almost ruined a great film.
The acting in this one is very well done. The entire cast was great to watch. No one actually stood out over the other which is the way I prefer my horror films if they take a more serious tone. It was very well done and the cast did a great job.
The story for this one is where the film lost me. The film’s first half had me sold on the film. It had an unoriginal story but was very well done. The action scenes in the convenient store and the infected husband fighting the wife in the truck was beautiful. I was hooked after these scenes. Sadly, the film loses it’s momentum about the halfway point and the story falls apart. The story tries to give the viewer a rage type infected zombie that mixes with a few elements from theMasters of Horror Episode – Screwfly Solution. On paper this looks good but the appeal was lost in the execution. The story is very dry toward the end and very little action or story to hold the viewer’s attention. Then the story takes an absurd twist with the mask on the sheriff that I was rolling my eyes and muttering “what the fuck.” It had a great opening but a shit closing.
Finally, if you are looking for gore there is some in this one. Several on screen kills with decent practical effects and minimal CGI. Overall, On the Brain had the makings of a modern classic. A story that could have worked and some great practical effects but lost it’s footing along the way and was not able to pull the story off. Skip this one.