Monday, April 2, 2007

Magdalena's Brain (2006)

Magdalena (Amy Shelton-White) and husband Arthur (Sanjiban) were once brilliant scientists. Maggie treated cancer patients while Arthur was working on a groundbreaking artificial intelligence that would be thousands of times smarter than a highly intelligent human and that could also learn. During a premature test, something went horribly wrong and Arthur was paralyzed. Things went downhill from there; Arthur lost all his grant money and Maggie lost her medical license. Four years later they have moved into a massive abandoned factory that Arthur's family owns to continue their experiments in secret. Maggie is run down and fed up with taking care of handicapped Arthur all the time, but fights temptation in the form of a hunky ex-patient who is now homeless and living in the building with them. This ex-patient, Andrew (David Joseph), also has a brain tumor that Maggie believes can be cured with the artificial intelligence Arthur is working on. The plan is to integrate Arthur's brain into the artificial intelligence and then deposit it all back into Andrew's skull. Maggie will then get the brains and the brawn of the two men she loves. When Maggie's brother comes back into town to help, all seems set for the experiment to take place...but at what price will Magdalena perform the experiment?

Magdalena's Brain is being released from Heretic Films, whose films are hit and miss with me. This one was a big old miss. It only runs for about 80 minutes, but, boy, did it feel a lot longer than that! It doesn't get going until about the last 10 minutes or so, and the rest of the time it just follows around mopey Maggie tending to her quadriplegic husband or complaining to her psychiatrist. It is just plain boring and doesn't have any suspense or tension. The film isn't even horror until the last few minutes or so, and then it is too little too late. The rest of the story just feels tacked on to satisfy the "twist" at the end (which is pretty obvious) and lacks action and direction.

On the plus side, it does look pretty good for a low-budget film. The production values are all pretty high, including good lighting, nice set design and good continuity...but this doesn't help a film with no heart! I didn't feel anything for the characters (though the actors' performances were all adequate) and more depth should have been given to each of them. The film spends so much time focused on Maggie, but I felt no connection to her at all.

Magdalena's Brain succeeds in its technical aspects, but fails in presenting an engaging story or characters. Horror fans won't enjoy this, and even art house aficionados won't be able to sit through this drag of a movie.

Magdalena's Brain on IMDB.

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