Thursday, August 5, 2021

Fantasia 2021: Brain Freeze (2021)

Movie Name/Year: Brain Freeze (2021)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Language: French
Production/Distribution: Palomar, WaZabi Films, Filmoption International
Director: Julien Knafo
Writer: Julien Knafo
Actors: Iani Bédard, Roy Dupuis, Marianne Fortier, Anne-Élisabeth Bossé, Claudia Ferri, Mylène Mackay, Stéphane Crête, Louis-Georges Girard, Mahée Paiement, Siom-Olivier Fecteau, Jean Pierre Bergeron, Marie-Lyne Joncas
Blurb from IMDb: A fertilizer used in a rich gated community becomes the source of a genetic mutation that transforms its residents into zombies. Can a teenager and his baby sister break free from the quarantined island before turning into grass?

Selina’s Point of View:
No regular reader will be surprised that I jumped on Brain Freeze when I saw it was part of the Fantasia Film Festival. Comedic horror is my favorite mix-genre, and zombies are my favorite horror-based creature. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from this flick.
It absolutely did not disappoint.
When you mix zombies with comedy it almost always leads to a film that would be best labeled as a parody. Even Shaun of the Dead was, at the very least, more of a caricature than a serious film. Brain Freeze doesn’t take that route.
Not only does it excel as a comedy, but as a serious horror as well. Striking that kind of balance is insanely difficult, but portrayed to perfection here.
I was impressed instantly.

It started off with these gorgeous, high quality, informative visuals. There’s an immediate situational backstory given, without making us listen to boring, or forced, exposition. It doesn’t default to the ‘learn everything through a news story’ trope that is so prevalent in the genre. (Though there is some use of a radio show for this, it’s more of a means to an end than a necessity.)
Brain Freeze then goes on to give us a good idea of the lives our protagonists are living, and who they are as people. Again, it manages this without defaulting to droning exposition.
Just when it seems like it might be a little slow going, the action picks up and we’re right into it. Everything from there is survival.
The one-liners and humorous situations don’t ever overtake the plot. Throughout, the tension never ceases.

I’ll admit, there were a couple of aspects that seemed a bit too coincidental. I don’t know if I’d call them plot holes, but they did make me cringe a little bit. I found myself wondering if those parts could have been written a bit smoother. None of it was much of a big deal, though. It never took me out of the story.
What surprised me most, was that there was a message in the end.
Brain Freeze highlighted the danger of panic propaganda in media and how it can destroy otherwise reasonable people. We’ve seen that a lot with COVID-19, especially through the conspiracy theories surrounding the vaccines. I think this message is absolutely essential right now. Especially in areas where people are still somehow valuing partisan opinion over science.
When Brain Freeze is available widely, I think all horror fans should see it. Whether it’s in theaters, or streaming, doesn’t matter. Find a way. It is so worth it.

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer: (Although the trailer is in English, I recommend watching the movie in its original French, if possible.)

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