Wednesday, March 30, 2016

90's Cyber Trash: Brainscan

Welcome back, the 90s!  Today's Film is Brainscan, a 1994 Cyber-Thriller that is about as dated as Carbon.  That's a Science Pun!  The Story is about a young man with a strange, inexplicable existence, who loves technology and hates people.  Who can be so anti-social and into Technology?  Edward Furlong.  The crux of the Film: a CD-based FMV Game.  This isn't dated at all!  The Film comes to us from the late Director of such Films Out for Justice, Rolling Thunder and Lock Up (the first Stallone in Jail Film).  He apparently hated Furlong, which I'm sure made for a fun shoot.  Here's a random Fun Fact- this was Written by the guy that wrote Se7en.  How do I keep making random connections between Films like this?  Plus, how did that guy that wrote that David Fincher Film write this Film about an evil Computer Game?  That's like David S. Goyer Writing a Film about an evil Arcade Game Developer.  Oh right- that happened.  Incidentally, the same Writer- Andrew Kevin Walker was a Scenic Painter on Robot Holocaust- thanks, IMDB!  To find out if CD-Based Games are the root of all evil, read on...
After a mostly-pointless Flashback showing how Furlong was injured in a car crash as a kid, we get to see his creepy, loner existence in an Attic all alone.

I bet he wishes that 'Let's Play's had been invented by then.
He spies on a girl next door, but it's okay...since she lets him.

Wait- no, it's not!  Why did I just say that?
Furlong hosts a Horror Movie Club at School as least until they're caught watching The Dracula Saga.

Actually, that's not what it is called.  What is that Film again?
Our Hero gets a mysterious Disc that talks to you...since that's perfectly normal.  He plays the 'Game'...which just has him see through the eyes of a killer.
He freaks out when he sees a murder like the one he 'took part in' right near his house.  That's when the really weird stuff happens.

For example, CD-Based Freddy.
In a move that predates Paranormal Activity by a Decade or so, he films himself playing the Game to prove what is happening.
Frank Langella is here to make time between playing Skeletor and Perry White.  He doesn't seem to care much for the Film either, given his sullen demeanor and low-energy performance.
 In the End, the Brainscan creature pushes Furlong to kill his would-be-girlfriend/stalking victim, but he refuses.  He tries to fight the creature, but, well, this happens.
About that time, he wakes up.  None of the killings have happened- including his best friend's off-screen death- and he's not crazy.  Or is he?!?
Loading.  Please Wait.  While you wait for your Castlevania Game to load, let me talk about what worked here and what didn't.  What worked- the Visuals.  While the Story is nothing that great (and a little confusing to stay interesting), the Film looks neat at times.  The Trickster- no Hammill- is a bit of a would-be-Freddy Kreuger, but at least he's interesting to look at.  I'm not entirely clear what he is- if anything- but he does have rocking hair.  Here's what didn't work- the Story.  The whole idea has promise, but the execution is iffy.  There are so many things left vague or confusing that it is hard to get invested in the tale.  On top of that, Films like this show why Furlong worked so well in Terminator 2 and, well, why he's still known as the kid from Terminator 2.  He's just too self-absorbed, annoying and creepy here to be a Lead.  I'm not blaming all of those traits purely on him, mind you- they are in the Script!  Why not make your Lead be a stalker?  Why not make him a dick?  One of the Film's weaknesses can be a strength though.  It is *so* into the latest and greatest technology (of 1994), that it can be kind of fun.  I didn't watch it for that, but, you know, BONUS!  If nothing else, you can watch this instead of Brainstorm if you don't want to be reminded of Natalie Wood's mysterious death.  I'm reaching, aren't I?  In closing, here's a lesson learned from Brainscan.  If you are going to make a Scene be dramatic, watch what Props you put in the shot with your Actor(s)...
Next up, a Gang Film/Musical.  Naturally, this could only come to us from Japan!  Stay tuned...

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