Braindead (Dead Alive) – Review

28 Jun

Peter Jackson. There’s a name that everybody knows very well, even if movies aren’t your forte. He’s most known for directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a remake of King Kong, and an adaptation of the book The Lovely Bones. But let’s pretend that they haven’t happened yet and the year is 1992. Peter Jackson’s first film, Meet the Feebles, was a small cult hit but he would need something bigger to really start his career. How about making the “goriest film of all time?” Now we have Braindead. 

Lionel (Timothy Balme) is a push over who spends his days doing whatever his mother (Elizabeth Moody) tells him. After his mother gets bit by a Sumatran rat monkey in the local zoo, she begins to get sick and eventually dies…but not for long. Soon, the undead begin to run amok and it’s up to Lionel, who is new girlfriend, Paquita (Diana Peñalver), and his scheming Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) to destroy these zombies any way possible with unbelievably gory results.

I was excited to see Braindead. Really excited. I mean, come on, this is supposedly the king of all gore movies, and I can now honestly say that it is and then some. I could not believe the amount of blood, limbs, intestines, and all the other miscellaneous appendages that I saw fly across the screen. In one particular scene involving a lawnmower, five gallons of blood were blasted from the device per second. What other movie can brag about that?

The scene below is pretty gross. Just wanted to let you know if you want to watch it.

Don’t let the amount of gore and general yuckiness give you the wrong idea. You will be laughing hard at 90% of the jokes in this movie. Lionel was both likable and frustrating, but definitely a character we can relate to on some level. The supporting characters were appropriately good and evil, with the exception of Uncle Les who went above and beyond the level of douche baggery.

What I also mean by not letting the gore intimidate you is also the fact that when there are loads of body parts flying across the screen, it is normally in a slapstick fashion. There were never any parts in the movie, besides the one above scene, that really grossed me out like Anti-Christ did. Instead it was just a lot of fun to see how far Peter Jackson would go with his gore crazed scenes. I have to say, it exceeded my expectations.

This is the scene that I mentioned in the beginning and is probably the goriest scene of the movie.

Stylistically, Braindead hits the mark perfectly. The film is loaded with dutched close ups that are both funny to look at because they are kind of cheesy, but they also cause a feeling of disorientation at times. There are also some great green and purple filters used in scenes towards the end that make the rooms in the zombie filled mansion almost other worldly.

Braindead or Dead Alive, whatever you want to call it, is a fantastically awesome early film by Peter Jackson. I can vouch for it and say that it is, at least, the goriest film that I’ve ever seem and that’s saying something. I don’t just recommend it for that reason, however. I recommend it because it is really funny, has style, and also has great characters. This is a very well rounded movie in a aspects and I really loved it.

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