Brain on Fire

Viewed – 04 July 2018  Netflix

It would be easy for some to pass off this Netflix original movie as just another TV-movie style ‘illness of the week’ effort … but that would be doing it a disservice. A powerful and gripping true story that has the always likeable Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays plucky young reporter Susannah who is living the dream; ideal job, the musician boyfriend and all.  That is until some strange symptoms rear their head sending her into a downward spiral.

Brain On Fire

With the ‘mystery illness’ at the centre and thoroughly believable performances not only from Moretz who delivers possibly a career best, but also a support cast that includes the often underrated Carrie Ann Moss as her mother … this made me feel so affected not just by Susannah’s struggle but also that of her estranged parents, boyfriend and work colleagues.  Watching a family come together but also feel so helpless was utterly heart-breaking.

With solid direction from relative newcomer Gerard Barrett and particularly effective use of sound to portray some of Susannah’s symptoms – this is one of those movies best approached knowing little about it and letting the mystery unfold.  The only negative remains a somewhat sugar-coated ending that glosses over certain struggles. However, for a woefully dismissed movie critically, I have to say ignore such opinions and give this little gem your immediate attention.

Verdict:  4 /5

Silent Hill Revelation

Viewed – 29 June 2013  online rental

I have always been a fan of the video games that this and the previous movie are based on, and having recently picked up Silent Hill Downpour on the XBOX 360, I was tempted to give this, rather poorly rated sequel a day in court.  Continuing on from the events in the first movie, Sean Bean and his daughter, Heather (Adelaide Clemens) spend their lives moving from town to town, with Bean attempting to keep one step ahead of the occupants and spirits of Silent Hill, who have taken an interest in Heather.  When Bean vanishes though Heather realizes its time to find the town her father has spoken so much about and which haunts her dreams in hope of stopping the nightmare.


Closely based on the critically acclaimed third entry in the video game series, this brash, in-yer-face horror movie perfectly captures the mood and look of the games, and with a feisty heroine in the shape of Michelle Williams look-a-like Clemens and some great set design and make up effects, I found myself having a lot of fun.  For a video game adaption, this does the job well, but as a movie it lacks tension and build up with the director being more focused on throwing freaky monsters and OTT effects at the screen.  This isn’t helped by some very poor CGI, and a story that doesn’t really go anywhere interesting.  Supporting cast members Kit Harington and Carrie-Ann Moss are ok, and Sean Bean is acceptable despite a very dodgy American accent … but the fun here is spotting all the iconic imagery, including a great sexy / freaky nurses sequence.  And that theme is truly haunting.

But this isn’t a movie intent on scaring you and leaving you shaken, but more sending you on a gory, visually dynamic ride (hence the 3D, at least in cinemas) but if you’re a fan of the games, you’ll still get something from it.  Of the memory I have of the first movie, this can’t compare and lacks the skill of French director Christophe Ganz (Brotherhood of the Wolf).  Yet I’d still say see it for the games, maybe not so much for your love of horror.

Verdict: 2.5 /5


Viewed 03 Jan 2008  DVD

You wont come across many films like this, where it starts at the end and gradually goes back-wards – add to this the fact the main character has a problem with short term memory – and you’re ready for one of the most unique dramas around.  Guy Pearce who I still can’t shake as that biker lad from TVs Neighbours, plays a man who after witnessing his wife being attacked and raped by an intruder, is tracing the man responsible by piecing together clues in a battle against time as his memory fades within minutes of him experiencing anything post traumatic event.  Cleverly too he tattoos everything he needs to remember on his body and takes Polarides of other important information. 

This impressive second feature from Dark Knight helmer Christopher Nolan, is a very clever spin on the murder-mystery and is watchable but also quite confusing and tricky to follow.  There’s so many red herrings and loose ends and people taking advantage of this man’s memory problem that you come away wondering ‘What the hell have I just watched?’ despite liking it.  The supporting cast is first rate with a decent Carrie-Anne Moss and an always enjoyable Joe Pantoliano, and nobody is exactly who they seem to be.

Probably a touch too clever for its own good, but if you want to watch something a little bit different, this works well enough…but trying to figure it all out could give you a headache.  Oh and honestly, Guy Pearce really should be doing interesting stuff like this more often.

Verdict:  3 /5