REVIEW: Brain Dead (1990)

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Brain Dead: C

Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton star in this bizarre, poorly written but somehow mildly entertaining horror movie about a doctor that slowly descends into madness. Bill Pullman is a star experimental neurosurgeon who has developed a method that can alter a person’s personality, and/or their memories. Bill Paxton is his former college roommate who is now a corporate slime ball, and he needs Pullman’s help to recover the missing portion of an equation from a former employee named Hallsey.

Despite Pullman’s initial rejections of the idea, he eventually succumbs to Paxton’s charms and agrees to do surgery on Hallsey to get him to remember the equation. During the course of the surgery Pullman fixes Hallsey, but he soon begins to develop paranoid delusions of his own that send his world spiraling out of control.

From here the movie picks up steam but starts moving in so many different directions it is very hard to keep up. First Pullman starts seeing a blood covered doctor everywhere he turns and he keeps having visions of his wife and Bill Paxton banging in all sorts of odd places. Once you think you get the idea that Pullman is a nut bag, the film shifts again as Pullman is now being portrayed as a life long mental patient who created a false reality about him being a neurosurgeon, and he and Hallsey are actually the same person. Well once you accept that portion of the film it shifts again and Pullman just starts waking up from dream sequences over and over again until the viewer eventually gets frustrated and kind of tunes out.

Overall the director did a good job of keeping the audience guessing about what is real and what is not, and as far as a philosophical allegory for what the true nature of reality is, it shits on The Matrix. However the movie got a little jumbled and to hard to follow at points. Worth a viewing if you have always wanted to see the two Bills share the silver screen together.

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