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Head Trauma

It's all in the noggin in "Head Trauma," a psychological horror exercise whose predictability rises in inverse proportion to its drooping scares. Pic falls far short of the best recent indie horror, unable to make its scenario about a slacker encountering yucky things in his dead grandparents' eroding abode interesting.

Cast:
With: Vince Mola, Jamil Mangan, Mary Monahan, Meryl Lynn Brown, Brandee Sanders, Jim Sullivan, Steve Garvey.

It’s all in the noggin in “Head Trauma,” a psychological horror exercise whose predictability rises in inverse proportion to its drooping scares. Pic falls far short of the best recent indie horror (such as “The Roost,” “Subject Two”), unable to make its scenario about a slacker encountering yucky things in his dead grandparents’ eroding abode interesting. Helmer Lance Weiler (“The Last Broadcast”) applies stylistic jolts directly lifted from contempo Japanese horror, but gambit won’t translate into more than cable and vid play after select fest squats.

After years as a semi-employed wanderer, George (Vince Mola) tries to save his grandparents’ badly run-down two-story home from the wrecking ball. Neighbors Julian (Jamil Mangan) and Chester (Jim Sullivan) appear to be the antagonists, but George’s biggest enemies are his own thoughts and dreams, which revive awful memories of his involvement in an accidental killing. A basement water leak (and the things that may be floating around) is the closest pic comes to genuine squirminess, though Mola effectively works up a sweat as a guy who can never seem to turn off the thoughts in his brain.

Head Trauma

Production: A CMI & Good Films production. Produced by John Stefanic. Executive producers, Lance Weiler, Jennifer Nasal. Directed by Lance Weiler. Screenplay, Weiler, Brian Majeska.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Sam Levy; editor, Josh Cramer; music, Brian McTear; production designer, Jennifer Nasal. Reviewed at Wilshire screening room, Beverly Hills, June 7, 2006. (In Los Angeles Film Festival -- Dark Wave.) Running time: 83 MIN.

With: With: Vince Mola, Jamil Mangan, Mary Monahan, Meryl Lynn Brown, Brandee Sanders, Jim Sullivan, Steve Garvey.

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