Director John Flynn’s 1977 film Rolling Thunder has been cited several times by Quentin Tarantino as a major influence (The Acuna Boys in Kill Bill are taken directly from this film). Here, he’s directing a script by Brian Owens and Andrew Kevin Walker (who would go on to write Seven, Hideaway and 8mm).
Michael Brower (Edward Furlong) lives alone in a mansion that belongs to his absent father. Ever since a car crash, his father has disappeared from his life, he’s lost his mother and he has a permanent leg injury. He’s pretty much anyone who would rent this movie — he loves horror films and longs for his next-door neighbor Kimberly.
He has only one friend, Kyle, who introduces him to Brainscan, a new video game that’s hosted by the Trickster (stage actor T. Ryder Smith, who pretty much makes this movie watchable), an evil entity that encourages players to live out their most murderous impulses. Michael learns that anyone that is killed in the game also dies in the real world when one of his virtual victims shows up dead. And then he kills his best friend — which he doesn’t remember — as the game takes over his brain.
Soon, Detective Hayden (Frank Langella, the other reason this movie is watchable) is on the case and the Trickster is tormenting him everywhere he goes and even demands that he kill Kimberly. , who refuses to leave his home. Trickster ultimately instructs him to kill Kimberly.
This movie ends — like most 1990’s virtual reality films — with a series of fakeouts to make you wonder what’s real and what’s inside the video game world. Also: if you’re into late 1990’s nu metal, good news. There’s some Primus, some White Zombie and some Pitchshifter, amongst others.
Flynn was no fan of Edward Furlong. He said, “Eddie Furlong was a 15-year-old kid who couldn’t act. You had to slap him awake every morning. I don’t want to get into knocking people, but I was not a big Eddie Furlong fan.”
You can watch Brainscan on Mill Creek’s new Sci-Fi Double Feature blu ray disc, along with Mindwarp.
DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by Mill Creek, but that has no impact on our review.