Thursday, August 02, 2012

Fantasia ’12: Attack of the Brainsucker (short)

It is tough having a sci-fi fan for a kid.  They are always going on about alien invasions and the like.  One little girl’s parents lose patience with her crazy Mars talk in Sid Zanforlin’s short film, Attack of the Brainsucker (trailer here), which screens during the 2012 Fantasia Festival.

Samantha Delormier enjoys giving herself paranoid nightmares, like the one that opens the film.  After all, that is exactly what monsters from space are good for.  Her parents do not share her enthusiasm.  Frankly, they are getting rather tired of her oddball expressions of fandom.  In truth, their discontent stems from a dirty family secret.  It was Samantha’s older brother Robbie who first introduced his sister to the world of cult sci-fi.  The senior Delormier sibling no longer lives with the family.  He has been put away someplace out of sight.  However, he has come back this dark and stormy night to look after his beloved sister.  Or has he?

Brainsucker’s dirty little secret is that it is a really a social issue film masquerading as a retro genre pastiche.  It might be a particular downer for Fantasia patrons, considering how likely they are to identify with little Samantha.  At least it looks great.  Production designer Katka Hubacek’s team must have called in favors with all their geek-collector friends, filling every nook and cranny of Samantha’s bedroom with vintage 1960’s-era memorabilia.

Young Keyanne Fielding’s performance as Samantha is also quite impressive, but the film is rather dark and even somewhat heavy-handed.  That will make it a bit of a tough lead-in for Jon Wright’s enjoyably easy-going monster movie Grabbers this Saturday (8/4).  It also screens as part of the Déclarations short film programming block on the same night.