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Brainscan (1994)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Genres / Traits:
Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi Horror, Teen Horror, Video Games
John Flynn John Flynn
Edward Furlong Edward Furlong
Frank Langella Frank Langella
T. Ryder Smith T. Ryder Smith
Amy Hargreaves Amy Hargreaves
Jamie Marsh Jamie Marsh

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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A lonely teenage horror-movie fan discovers a mysterious computer game that uses hypnosis to custom-tailor the game into the most terrifying experience imaginable. When he emerges from the hypnotic trance he is horrified to find evidence that the brutal murder depicted in the game actually happened -- and he's the killer. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: February 24, 2005
Michael Bower (Edward Furlong) is your typical grunge-era horror geek. He reads Fangoria, collects horror movies, and even runs a horror club at his school alongside his buddy Kyle (Jamie Marsh). As Michael is trying to build up the nerve to ask his moderately hot neighbor Kimberly (Amy Hargreaves) out on a date, Kyle decides to give Michael a call and talk about this new game that's just been released. Brainscan is the name (go figure), and it promises to be the ultimate in reality horror gaming. Michael finds their claims to be a bit hard to believe, but decides to give it a go since Fangoria gave it a nice writeup in their most recent issue. He calls the phone number listed in the magazine to order a copy, and has quite the odd phone conversation before the man on the other end hangs up. Although Michael didn't give out his name or address, a package containing the game shows up in his mail the next day. After popping the game CD into his PC CD-ROM, the game begins on his television... quite bizarre, though I doubt us viewers at home were supposed to notice that. Anywho, the rules are explained as follows. Michael has a time limit to finish the game, and the results won't be too nice if he doesn't. Using the latest technological breakthroughs, the television will emit signals, sounds, and visuals that will make it appear as though he's actually doing the things in the game. Next thing Michael knows, he's placed outside a mans house, and a voice guides him along until he enters the house and picks up a butcher knife. The voice prompts him to go upstairs with the knife and kill the man sleeping in the bed. For creativity bonus points, Michael cuts off the mans foot and takes it with him. The deed is done, and Michael wakes up in his home, in the chair he was sitting in when he started the game. Thoroughly jocking the game, he gets up to go have a snack... only to find the mans dismembered foot sitting in his freezer.

Up until this point in the movie, I was actually enjoying the events taking place. A decent storyline has been setup, things were handled nicely, and with all of the underling messages of the movie aside, it was pretty damned interesting. However, and spoilers will follow in this paragraph, right after he finds that foot is when things start to turn to shit. After seeing it and freaking out, Michael turns around to see a man in his room. The man introduces himself as Trickster (T. Ryder Smith), and explains that he set up the game, and Michael needs to finish it before the cops find out about what he did. If you've ever seen the movie "Drop Dead Fred", you'll know the type of character that Trickster plays; nobody but Michael can see or hear him, he acts goofy as hell, and can appear or disappear at will. Throughout the remainder of the movie, Trickster is the guy responsible for encouraging Michael to finish up the game, and completely ruins the flow of the movie with each appearance. Now, I haven't sat down and thought about how I would have handled the storyline and kept things moving, but if I were to write a list of, say, a thousand ideas on how to do so, this approach wouldn't have made the list. At all. It completely ruins each and every scene in which he appears, and that would be just about every other scene until the credits begin to roll.

With that huge flaw aside, this could have still ended up being a slightly below-average film... after all, it started out good, had an interesting premise, and other than Trickster, was pretty well thought out. So, how does the movie combat that approaching mediocre rating? Major spoilers will follow, but it pulls out the worst type of ending known to movie-goers world-wide - Michael wakes up in his chair, and it was all part of the game. Nothing actually happened, it was all virtual reality, and the experience prompts Michael to go ask Kimberly out on a date. Flash a few smiles, crack a joke, roll credits, send the audience home thoroughly pissed off. Now, maybe it's just my personal belief, but such a huge fuck-up of an ending can ruin any movie, especially one that was pretty mediocre before all of that nonsense occurred.

Overall, this is one that you'd definitely want to skip over if that wonderful cover and box-description strikes you as interesting. 3/10.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 04/18/2005, 06:11 AM
Deadwired2 #2: Deadwired2 - added 07/03/2005, 06:44 AM
Damn right, Drop Dead Fred ruled.
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