Plot: Michael Bower (Edward Furlong) is a teenager who loves horror movies and violent video games, but he stays out of trouble. At home, he lives in the attic and has an expansive, cutting edge computer system, including a digtal butler who keeps Michael’s needs met. But as advanced as all that is, even Michael is stunned when gives Brainscan a spin. The newest, most advanced video game available, Brainscan puts you inside a horror movie. The program feeds off the user, to learn what drives them, what scares them, to make the most realistic, effective experience. As Michael goes through the session, he is amazed by the program and feels as if all the events are real. He was present at a brutal murder and the experience was so intense, he is nearly in shock once it ends. The next day however, he is panicked to later learn that the murder was real and of course, he knows he was the killer. Now he must stay a step ahead of the police and try to prove that the game, not him, is responsible.
Entertainment Value: I love these movies from the 90s that center on computers or other tech elements, but take the concept to some ludicrous level that defies all reason or logic. The outlandish video game elements of Brainscan are tempered by the occult aspects of the narrative, but are still so over the top, it adds a lot of silliness and bursts of humor. This is a horror movie, but it is one with a twisted sense of humor, so the silliness adds to the fun, rather than clashing with the other elements. The video game scenes and most of the real life investigation come across as tense and serious, but whenever The Trickster is around, things go a little bonkers. I think that offbeat humor is what makes Brainscan stand out in the 90s horror crowd, as it is a fun movie above all else, not to mention the creative, if laughable premise. The pace is on point and the movie never slows, so tension remains effective and the overall entertainment level stays fairly high, which is impressive. This might be one of the goofier genre films of the 90s, but it is also one of the most fun.
A brief, off kilter moment of bare breasts is the lone sleaze in this one, so there is some sex and romance at times, but minimal nakedness. There’s some bloodshed here, some of which has that special trademark 90s CGI, such as when two characters meld together in ridiculous, hilarious fashion. Some of The Trickster’s tricks also use the abysmal visual effects, but there’s some old fashioned blood and goop at times as well. We have stab wounds, slash wounds, a lopped off foot, and The Trickster has some bad luck with his eye sockets. A little gun violence is also unleashed, but there’s minimal red stuff in those instances. The kills aren’t graphic or overly blood soaked, but there’s some fun moments and the CGI is beyond hilarious. The dialogue is best when Furlong is overly dramatic and The Trickster’s one liners are fun as well, so while the volume of great lines isn’t high, there’s some nice moments. As for craziness, the ludicrous video game tech adds some points, as do Furlong’s overly serious performance, the low end CGI, and the creative, fun premise.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
The Disc: Scream Factory’s Blu-ray delivers a terrific visual presentation, one that is sharp and well detailed throughout. The colors are natural and contrast is on point, while fine detail is much improved over the old DVD, with solid clarity and a clean looking image. A host of new supplements graces this release as well, with audio comments from Tara Georges, the assistant to the director, a selection of cast & crew interviews, a deleted scene, behind the scenes footage, still photos, tv spots, and multiple trailers.