film

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Braindead (1992)

Director:
Peter Jackson
COUNTRY
New Zealand
Genre
Splatter/Horror/Comedy
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Braindead
RUNNING TIME
104 minutes
Producer:
Jim Booth
Screenwriter:
Stephen Sinclair
Frances Walsh
Peter Jackson
Based on a story by:
Stephen Sinclair


Cast includes:

CHAraCter ACTOR rATING
Lionel Timothy Balme ½
Paquita Diana Peñalver ½
Mum Elizabeth Moody ½
Uncle Les Ian Watkin
Nurse McTavish Brenda Kendall
Father McGruder Stuart Devenie ½
Void Jed Brophy ½
Undertaker’s Assistant Peter Jackson ½

 

Review

At a time when Peter Jackson wasn't preoccupied with making overlong showcases of classic literature, he was the relatively unknown peripherical Kiwi alternative filmmaker that the world was about to notice. After the wildly amusing (but somewhat uneven) début, Bad Taste, Jackson wrote (with his wife Fran Walsh and author Stephen Sinclair) and directed Braindead. Received as an instant cult classic by film clubs and alternative movie lovers, the film has only reinforced its position as arguably the best ever splatter movie (Sam Raimi-fans will have me excused).

The film is built around the simple story of young, clumsy Lionel (living in an old Victorian mansion with his destructively controlling mother) who becomes the subject of a tarot inflicted crush from neighbour girl Paquita. Their love awakes the wrath of Lionel's mother, something that is only amplified (to say the least) when mum is bitten by a not too cosy rat-monkey from Sumatra.

Of course, there's nothing remarkable with the dramatic or romantic contents of the film. These function merely as settings for Jackson's bloodthirst, so to say. The film is arguably the most bloody (when it comes to volume) of all horror movies ever, but even though Braindead carries a lengthy sequence of fairly repetitive action, it always stays on top of its game. The special effects are nothing short of extraordinary (especially taking the budget into account) and the creativity and vision with which the most graphic scenes are conducted are simply amazing.

Braindead most definitely isn't for every taste. But with that said, this film is so professionally conducted and has a thematic ambivalence to it that won't offend people who're able to see it in an artistic light. Peter Jackson shows a great deal of flair in combining the horror (because the film does function as suspenseful horror as well) with the distinctive satire and comedy with which Braindead is soaked. In my opinion, still Peter Jackson's best work.

Re-reviewed: Copyright © 8.3.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: © 17.4.1996
Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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