On the Brain (2016) – By Baron Craze

 

Director Kevin Van Stevenson presents an interesting switch in the standard horror genre returning to a crossover genre that of westerns, it usually involves miners or ghost towns, however this time more of a reflection of concerns of today perhaps the usage mad cow disease. Though of course, the tale focuses on one primarily species, men, let’s correct the women escape the vicious disease taking over their brains. The premise very unique and shot with a subtext of atmospheric implied horrors of raging brothers, husbands, sons, and boyfriends all out to consume the other in their madness. This is not per se a typical zombie flick, though the elements exist, in the peaceful area of San Jacinto, in the course of 12-days. All of this marks up for a great story, especially since it is his first feature film, and while he has created a few short films, nothing replaces one’s primary debut. However fret not, Kevin’s hands are well versed in filmmaking having accomplished multiple skills, tasks and jobs on several films, this flick gives references to the b-movies of the 1980s and succeeds in distribution through Brain Damage Films. One must note that screenwriter Brandon Trask, found the inspiration for this story from a novel entitled “The Dangerous Season” written in the 1970s by his mother Ina Gay Trask, discovering it in closet of full manuscripts and random stories, ad with the scary overtones converted it into the scrip by 2009.

In the town of Golden Torch a newly appointed Sheriff Kelly (Danny Hansen) quickly learns, that the problems go well beyond the safety of the town as it is becoming a dustbowl of forgotten memories. Sadly, for the Sherriff a very questionable shooting, resulting in two deaths, Kelly finds himself, battling the mayor, and trying to keep the peace all without a firearm, as more bodies and murders continue to swirl around him in the lonesome town. As he plays detective, the questions mount of why the men and only the men were losing their minds, and while he seeks the clues, the viewers know one of the issues lies with a creature swarming in the killers’ skulls. He has the assistance of his girlfriend, Doctor Mariama (Shenik Taylor) to why the men have a hard time keeping their heads, their relationship felt very natural. Both actresses Amy Waller and Deirdre V. Lyons aid very nicely in the support character roles, a role often overlooked, but that every film requires them. Nevertheless, the scene stealer falls to Sharon Frederickson, who portrayed the Mayor of the town and wastes zero time, confirming her dominance in the town and her absolute authority. Her ability in the role to switch from caring for a family and then quickly back to stubborn manner proved wonderful to watch, as she reminds the viewers of western films of a vicious land baroness. In fact, her performance reminds the reviewer of the fictional politicians such as actor Richard Jordan (as Jeffrey Pelt) from “The Hunt from the Red October” as he declares himself; “I’m a politician… a cheat and a liar…” this attitude sums up the mayor’s attitude in Kevin’s movie. As the infection spreads creating more zombies Frankie Ray (Zeek) gives the best hellish performance of beast hungry for more and heightens the terror level wonderfully well, when he shows all his capabilities. These creatures bring more to the buffet than just gut munching.

The crew and cast overcame a very modest budget, and gave impressive performances, especially the interactions with Danny Hansen and Sharon Fredricson, their banter felt very natural. As the cinematography worked as effectively as possible, and tried to avoid the slip-ups in the crime scenes, but the positives outweigh the negatives. Kevin stacks the body count quickly, and gives a good layering of blood and gore for the fans to enjoy as the suspense and tension climbs steadily over the arc of the movie, which came in the post production with the assistance of editing.

This movie really keeps the horror and thriller audience engaged and one can understand how some link the movie to the zombie subgenre, and yet those worms have their own goals to threaten all mankind, while Kevin supplies a very good dose of splatter. His movie at times reminds of a short film from 2007, called Prombies from director Frederick Snyder, in which only men were turned into mindless zombies interested in only one thing (guess), and very willing to feed just like the men in this movie they seek to quench their rage and anger.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3699572