Director: John Flynn
Starring: Edward Furlong, Frank Langella, T. Ryder Smith, Amy Hargreaves, James Marsh
Wanna play? I dare you.
Michael Browser is a lonely outcast teenager who spends most of his time alone after his mother died and his father is always out on business trips. He finds enjoyment in disturbing entertainment such as horror films and video games.
His best friend Kyle lets him know about a new horror computer game that is out called Brainscan. This game is supposed to be the ultimate experience in shock and horror and Michael orders it right away. The effects of Brainscan is more than he could have asked for and he know has to beat the game in order to keep himself and his close ones safe.
I was not a fan of the new horror films that got released in the early 90’s, so the few that actually was good I hold dear to my horror heart. Brainscan is one of those and I appreciate it a lot for entertaining me on several occasions when I was younger. It also makes me so much happier to still find it highly enjoyable when I revisited it again today after not having seen it for over ten years.
It’s easy to see now what I liked about it as a teenager. The film actually does whatever it can to cater to the young die-hard horror fan instead of the regular teenage crowd. The main protagonist is a horror fan and a loner. He reads his Fangoria magazines and stays by himself and instead of being filled with teenage arrogance, he can only lust for his love interest from a distance. I’m not gonna generalise and say that all horror fans can recognize themselves in this character, but I’m pretty sure that a big amount of us could at the time. Not only is do we become the main character in the film, we also get an own “Freddy” to battle with in the over the top attempt at creating a horror icon with the character Trickster.
I find a lot of clever stuff about the script by Andrew Kevin Walker (who actually went on to write Se7en, Sleepy Hollow and a few other more known films). Movies that dealt with computer technology or virtual reality at the time had a bad habit of focusing too much on the technology and the films usually became a special effects exercise that usually left me cold and would look very dated years later. Instead they spend very little time on the technology behind the video game Brainscan and does not even attempt to explain how it works and I’m happy that they went for that decision.
Edward Furlong, from Terminator 2 and Pet Sematary 2 fame, plays Michael and I liked his portrayal of this weak outcast. He might not be a terrific actor, but he was a good fit for roles like this at the time. T. Ryder Smith plays Trickster and he could have been toned down a bit, but is still very fun to watch. Amy Hargreaves plays Michael’s love interest Kimberly and she has a girl next door look to her and comes off as good hearted and loveable. I like that they didn’t go for a big breasted bombshell as Michael’s love interest and rather went for a more realistic and sweet relationship.
Brainscan is one of the few good and fun horror films of the early 90’s and it still holds up well after repeated viewing. It’s not without flaws, but I still find it to be an underrated gem and would recommend horror fans to give it another go.