The Brain That Wouldn't Die (2020)
the brain that wouldn't die | derek carl | hank huffman | rachael perrell fosket | patrick d. green | david withers | remake | spoof | satire | comedy | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | mad scientist | nightmares film festival | nff | better horror | jason reynolds
Film: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
Director: Derek Carl
Writer: Hank Huffman
Starring: Rachael Perrell Fosket, Patrick D. Green and David Withers
This was interesting when I saw it listed as a movie playing at the Nightmares Film Festival. I’ve seen the original and wasn’t sure if this was a remake to that or what they were doing. Regardless, I gave this a viewing part of its Ohio premiere as well as being listed as one of their Comedy/Horror Features. The synopsis is after his fiancée is killed in a car accident, a gifted surgeon revives her severed head in hopes of finding her a new body.
We start this movie off in the operating room. The surgeon in charge is William Cortner (David Withers). He is informed by Jan Compton (Rachael Perrell Fosket) that the patient has passed away. He goes to call it when the other surgeon, Bill (Patrick D. Green) states that he has an experimental treatment that might save him. William doesn’t see the need, but does allow it. It ends up working. William gives credit, but states that it is too risky. A statement is made that they’re already dead, so what is the harm? We also learn by the end of this, William is Bill’s father and Bill is also engaged to Jan.
The two are supposed to spend the weekend together. Bill seemed to be a playboy before meeting her and he’s annoyed she won’t sleep with him. He is quite reckless as well. At dinner, Bill gets a call from his assistant that his presence is required at the vacation cabin. William wants to get rid of it, but we end up seeing this is where Bill is conducting experiments. Bill tells Jan he has to go and she asks to come along. He reluctantly agrees.
On the way there though, due to his reckless driving, they get into an accident. Jan is killed and Bill removes her head. He is able to bring it back to life. He just now needs to find a new body for it. Jan freaks out and wants to die. She cannot convince Bill or his assistant Kurt (Jason Reynolds) to help her. The serum that Bill gave her to bring her back does give her a bit of psychic ability. She’s able to communicate with something that is living in the closet. It sounds big and powerful.
While she is doing that, Bill tries to find her a new body. The problem is that every time he finds a viable candidate, something interferes. He needs to keep a low profile, which is difficult for him. All his questions seemed to be answered in the form of Doris Powell (Mia Allen), a former woman he helped in college. The problem though is the car accident has drawn the attention of the police and Detective Mancini (Robert Blanche) is looking into what happened by going to cabin nearby.
That’s where I’m going to leave my recap of this movie. Where I should start is that I’ve seen the original film just the one time, but I have to give a lot of credit to the team behind this movie. It really does look and feel like that low budget sci-fi movie. For the credits here, they give the name of the actor/actress in this movie, the character they’re portraying and sync it up with the scene they’re recreating from the past. In that respect, they did an excellent job.
Now I should also point out here, the original isn’t that great. It has been awhile since I saw that one and I found it to be below average. What I think works better for this movie; it knows exactly what it is doing. The original is cheesy due to what they had to work with where this movie is in its paying homage. The sets look similar, the acting is over the top and some of things that are said are a bit outrageous. I should also state that this is taking place in 60’s, much like the original one as well.
Why this works for me in doing this, if you’re not going to make a serious movie and update everything, I think that it works better to shift this more into the comedic realm. This was listed in the Horror/Comedies section of the festival as I said so I came in ready for that. We’re getting more of a satire as there are some things being said that would be fine back in the 50’s, but now is cringe-worthy. It is said tongue in cheek here though where I felt they almost want to wink at the camera so it plays well. I love there are 3 movies being shown on TV that fall into the same era/genre, including the original The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Those sci-fi/mad scientist movies being shown made me laugh as well since it tells me, the team behind this know what they’re referencing.
What I think really helps this movie is the acting. The actors/actresses know exactly how to play the character. Fosket is probably the best performance. We don’t really get a lot her before the accident, but she seems nice. I love that her being experimented on makes her quite bitter and that change happens quickly. It is actually empowering in my opinion. Green is an arrogant doctor, but he does it so over the top that it made me laugh. Withers is fine as the skeptical father. I also really enjoyed the performance by Reynolds as the assistant. He really has to deal with Jan more than anyone else in her new condition. They play off each other well. Aside from that, we have a bunch of good looking women on top of that, including Allen. They all help to round this movie out for what was needed.
The last thing to touch on would be the effects. They actually don’t do a lot with them. There is really more credit here to the use of camera angles and things to this effect. We do get some blood that had good color. There is an interesting scene where we see blood spray. I think for realism there should have been a bit more, but it is also recreating something from the original. Aside from that, the make up of the thing later was interesting and the cinematography worked as well.
There really isn’t much more to say about this movie. I love that they took a low budget movie from the 1950’s and did a shot for shot remake just adding the comedic element. What sets it apart though is making it a satire on the time period that also seems to poke fun at things we see today as well. The acting fits for the movie needed. The sets did feel like the time period while also somewhat timeless. This is really a movie you aren’t supposed to take too seriously, but I don’t think that is a detriment to what the movie is doing overall. Despite these movies not really being what I would normal turn to, I still think this is above average.
My Rating: 6 out of 10