By Brett Mullins
Directed by Peter Jackson; Written by Stephen Sinclair
Braindead is a 1992 splatter zombie film that is the pinnacle of its genre. The far fetched story, combined with tremendous amounts of gore, make this film an enjoyable, yet mildly disturbing experience.
Lionel, the protagonist of the film, is a deeply repressed ‘mama’s boy’. While attempting to branch out his life with a date to the zoo with a hispanic grocery store clerk, Paquita, Lionel’s mother attempts to intrude by spying on the couple. While doing so, she is bitten by a special breed of monkey from Sumatra, a western Indonesian Island. When she returns home, she begins to feel ill, and her flesh literally falls apart as if her body is rotting. Lionel phones the nurse, but, once she arrives, it is too late; Mrs. Cosgrove has died. She then returns to life in a zombified state and begins spreading the condition throughout the town with only Lionel and Paquita to defend against it.
Though many would not have gathered this from viewing the film, this film was directed by Peter Jackson. Yes, the same fellow who directed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. There is a comparison to be made between two works in so far that there is a sense of epicness or magnitude about the films that makes the audience care more about the events occurring than they normally would. This is accomplished by Jackson keeping the character he wants the audience to sympathize with in the center of the frame in nearly every shot.
While the film begins as an obnoxious zombie film, it separates itself by featuring an over-the-top amount of blood and gore, to the point where it is comical. Unlike the Saw franchise and other gore horror films, Braindead’s depiction is not meant to be realistic, which evokes a completely different set of emotions. Instead of cringing and feeling the pain of the characters as they saw into their legs out of desperation, the graphic images are meant to be both sickening and comical. Also, one way to improve upon an otherwise boring fight scene is to add large quantities of blood spraying on each of the characters.
While not too deep at all, this film is, for the most part, coherent, logical, gruesome, comical and enjoyable.