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The Brain That Wouldn't Die Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Hyperbole Productions


Directed by Derek Carl
Written by Rex Carlton (original story), Joseph Green, (original story), Hank Huffman
2020, 97 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest UK Premiere on 22nd October 2020

Rachael Perrel Fosket as Jan Compton
Patrick D. Green as Dr. Bill Cortner
David Withers as William Cortner
Jason Reynolds as Kurt


After accidentally decapitating his fiancée, genius doctor Bill Cortner (Patrick D. Green) decides to use her as test subject for his most ambitious experiment yet – re-animating her lopped off head. The procedure is a success, and Jan (Rachael Perrell Fosket) lives, but now what? The next stage in Bill's experiment... procuring a new body.

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This remake of the 1962 sci-fi film updates the story in colour and fancy high definition, but that's about all that has changed. Director Derek Carl is surprisingly faithful in his retelling of the cult favourite – almost shot-for-shot and line-for-line in places. This is no pointless Psycho remake though. By staying extremely faithful to the source film, the filmmakers somehow manage to change the genre entirely, creating one of the most original comedy horror films of the year. The Brain That Wouldn't Die taps into a rich vein of comedy from playing it straight, down to the very sixties' score and histronic performances. Unlike most pastiche movies, it rarely lets the facade slip, and is all the more successful for it.

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Where it does allow for some leeway is in the lashings of gore, and screenwriter Hank Huffman's pun-laden screenplay. If there's a temptation to go overboard with the silliness, Carl doesn't succumb to it. The Brain That Wouldn't Die is both loving homage and tongue-in-cheek pastiche; a light-hearted, sillier Re-Animator. Amidst all of the 'getting ahead' puns, it was a late-in-the-game exchange regarding somebody's 'fingering' that really had this writer cackling.

Like the original film, it lags around the midsection as it follows Doctor Bill on his quest to find Jan a new body. This may have been servicable filler for 1962, but here it's dull and predictable, and feels more like a signifier of the film's low budget than anything. Thankfully, this is livened up by energetic performances from Green, Fosket and Jason Reynolds, who are great fun even during the more plodding moments. Fosket has big shoes (or not) to fill as Jan, but she does sterling work from atop Doctor Bill's workbench.

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The Brain That Wouldn't Die is a sharp and witty remake of a not-quite-classic B-movie. Rather than mocking its predecessor or renventing it beyond recognition, it lovingly pokes fun while staying faithful to the spirit of the original story. When it comes to horror remakes, this one is head and shoulders above the.... sorry, couldn't resist.


Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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