Film: Brain Dead
Director: Adam Simon
Writer: Charles Beaumont and Adam Simon
Starring: Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton and Bud Cort
This film begins with a man walking down a hallway; he is played by Bill Pullman. He comes to door where the 8 is turned on its side like the infinity sign. He spins it back to an eight and then enters. Inside is his assistant, played by David Sinaiko. Sinaiko is using an electrical instrument on a brain and there is a face shifting differently as it is touched in different spots. It is then after this that we see there is a wall of shelves with a lot more brains. Sinaiko is asked to get one, but he is clumsy and he breaks a jar. Pullman scolds him that this was a person and that maybe inside the brain, that person still lives.
We then see Pullman in his office talking to his secretary. His best friend then enters; he is played by Bill Paxton. He is having a rough day and it turns out that the major corporation he works for, Eunice, and one of his accounts is going to get him in trouble. It appears that they have a mathematician that has formulas and numbers in his head, but had a nervous breakdown and in a mental hospital. He is concerned that they won’t get the numbers out of his head so he asks Pullman to do his experimental treatment to see if they can heal this man. Pullman at first shuts him down, stating that they are not to human trials yet, but Paxton convinces him to change his mind to at least meet with the man at the Lakeside Hospital.
Pullman goes there and meets with the man, played by Bud Cort. He is extremely paranoid. It is said that he killed his wife and kids and believes that a man named Ed Conklin is who he worked for. Cort is still obsessed with numbers, but he doesn’t use formulas. Pullman gets him to agree to allow them to run tests on his brain.
From these Pullman realizes that he found an abnormality that is causing his paranoia. He takes this to Paxton and Pullman again tells him that he cannot do the treatment as it is not ready. Pullman then goes back to his office to see that he is losing his funding to another scientist. He changes his mind and decides to go to the Eunice Corporation to keep his funding.
Pullman goes back to the hospital and meets with Cort. There is a moment where Cort tells him he wants a pack of cigarettes, but he can’t have the patients see Pullman buy them. They exchange wallets and that’s when Pullman tells Cort that he can help him, but that Eunice Corporation is going to be who is paying for this. Cort freaks, but gets him to agree. As Pullman goes to a leave, there is a homeless man, played by Lee Arenberg. He sees that Pullman has a brain and states that this is his brain. He goes for it and they get into a tussle. Pullman ends up being hit by a car and he hits his head on the windshield.
The board is run by George Kennedy. There is a one way mirror and we see that Cort is strapped into a chair. Pullman pokes his brain and we see the man that Cort has been terrorized by is Nicholas Pryor. He is wearing a bloody white suit. The surgery is a success and Cort is fine. The problem is that afterwards, Pullman starts to see Pryor.
Pullman is married to Patricia Charbonneau. There was a competition for her between Pullman and Paxton. Pullman tries to enter a lot, but realizes that he doesn’t have his wallet. He starts to get confused and not sure who he is. He is acting strange. Pullman isn’t sure if he is who he was in the beginning of the film, or he is really Cort’s character or is he a patient in a mental hospital? Who is Pullman really and what is going on in his life?
Now this is another film that I came in not knowing much about what it was about until I watched it. My favorite thing about this one was that it bends reality and makes us wonder what is real and what isn’t. This film is about brain, how little we know about it and a surgeon who is out there trying to figure out. I love films that make you question what you’ve seen and what is really going on. I thought the acting was pretty good for budget of this film actually. I actually really like the twist at the end and how it ends up playing out.
I did have some issues with this film though. The first being that I felt some of the transitions between one versions of his life to the next would have been a little bit smoother and not as jarring. It made me stop to realize what I was seeing. I guess that was probably what the filmmaker was going for. The one that didn’t make sense was when Pullman goes to dinner with Charbonneau, Kennedy and Paxton and he is acting so strange that he doesn’t seem to know who anyone was. That one was a little confusing and I wasn’t the biggest fan of. This film could have been better and I think a larger budget would have helped that as well.
This film does have a really good concept, but I feel that it didn’t do the best job at realizing it on the screen. The cast was pretty good and the concept is great. The film is a little bit boring though and confusing at times. This is something that should be expected though, when you are factoring in that this man is trying to figure out who he is and what is real. This is a lower budget film from the early 90’s. I would recommend this film if it sounds interesting, but I will warn you that it is not the best out there so keep that in mind.
My Rating: 6 out of 10