Review: ‘Brain Dead’

"Brain Dead" is an amiable zombie gore comedy from vet B-pic helmer Kevin S. Tenney, still best known for his initial late-'80s features "Witchboard" and "Night of the Demons."

“Brain Dead” is an amiable zombie gore comedy from vet B-pic helmer Kevin S. Tenney, still best known for his initial late-’80s features “Witchboard” and “Night of the Demons.” Rather than ratcheting up the outrageousness as it goes along like the classic “Evil Dead” franchise or recent Sundance-preemed Norwegian exercise “Dead Snow,” however, Dale Gelineau’s screenplay simply settles into more middling wisecracks and routine cabin-under-siege action. Launched on a dozen Midwest and Southern screens March 13, it will doubtless reach more genre loyalists via home formats.

Reduced to baseball size by the time it hits terra firma, an asteroid lands right on the noggin of a fisherman who promptly turns undead and chomps his buddy’s brain. We’re then introduced to various victims/survivors-to-be led by escaped jailbirds Clarence (Joshua Benton) and Bob (David Crane). They hole up at the requisite isolated cabin, as do others, including sorority sisters and born-agains. All are held hostage by trigger-happy Bob, until matters worsen considerably as non-human perils arrive. Competently packaged pic never takes itself seriously, but lack of sharper wit and any novel twists keep it watchably forgettable.

Brain Dead

Production

A Monogram release of a Prodigy Entertainment presentation, in association with Motor Pictures. Produced by Kevin S. Tenney, Daniel Duncan, Dennis Michael Tenney. Executive producer, Greg McKay. Directed by Kevin S. Tenney. Screenplay, Dale Gelineau.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-DV), Patrick MacGowan, Alex Simon; editor, William Daniels; music, Dennis Michael Tenney; production designer, Javiera Varas. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, March 23, 2009. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Joshua Benton, Sarah Grant Brendecke, Michelle Tomlinson, David Crane, Andy Forrest, Cristina Tiberia, Tess McVicker, Chad Martin Guerrero, Jim Wynorski, Locky Lambert, Greg Lewolt.
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