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Head Trauma – 7

Director – Lance Weiler

Cast – Vince Mola, Jamil A.C. Mangan, Mary Monahan, Meryl Lynn Brown, Brandee Sanders, Jim Sullivan, Louis A. Bisignani

Release Year – 2006

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Most of us devout horror fans are on an ever-long search for horror film that fell under the radar when they debuted, and that search lead me to Head Trauma. A low budget psychological horror film, this effort does a lot with what little the filmmakers had to work with and delivers a pretty darn good story that took its time developing. I do understand why this flick did not achieve greatness when it debuted as it does have its faults and the low budget is obvious ($126,000), but in giving credit where it is due I must say this was a pretty worthwhile watch that I enjoyed.

After disappearing from his hometown for 20 years, drifter George Walker returns home to settle his grandmother’s estate. He finds his childhood home condemned by the city and littered with whatever the numerous squatters over the years left behind. While trying to save his home and his past, George severely strikes his head and triggers a nonstop onslaught of visions and terrible nightmares. As George’s reality continually becomes more and more horrific he soon realizes that someone or something is trying to kill him.

The film takes off quickly, with George receiving the good and bad news about his late grandmother’s home. Immediately after entering the home he begins to suffer strange delusions, often involving him being attacked by an unknown force or viewing the mysterious hanging death of a young girl. This of course adds to his problems and does great at creating conflict for the character as he faces the possibility that he is going insane when he must be on the top of his game if he wishes to succeed in keeping his grandmother’s home. We get a good amount of horror early on thanks to the hallucinations and a few good jump scares, but eventually the scares were overtaken by the psychological horror and confusion associated with that. I enjoyed that we were suffering the same confusion as George was over his hallucinations and what could have happened to cause them, and the story managed to keep me engaged thanks to its constant developments and interesting subject matter. Eventually the film builds up into a climax that was not surprising but also one that I did not see coming either, making for a somber climax to a dark and moody experience.

Director Lance Weiler (The Last Broadcast) did a pretty positive job executing this very low budget experience. What sold me right away was his atmosphere, which came dark, gloomy, and made good use of low-lit rooms and shadowy corners. It was this atmosphere that made some of the scares pretty enjoyable and downright creepy at times, another surprising positive that I did not expect to come across in this film. The acting performances were so-so, with some being cheesy and others, namely our lead actor, coming off great and benefitting the film. What I enjoyed most about the direction though was Weiler’s ability to keep a constant feeling of dread and despair throughout the experience. The subject matter brought the feeling into the story, and he managed to bring the feeling to life and for the viewer to enjoy – a definite sign of a director with some talent.

Overall, Head Trauma is an enjoyable low budget piece that went under the radar when it debuted. The film definitely has its flaws, but they are budget-related flaws that do not affect the story or the direction enough to ruin the experience.

Rating: 7/10

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