Magdalena's Brain

Magdalena's Brain (2006)
Heretic Entertainment
Cast: Amy Shelton-White, Sanjiban
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Video Diary

After a mind experiment in which her husband used himself as a guinea pig and was left immobilized as a result, scientist Magdalena Welling, (Amy Shelton-White) finds herself the reluctant caretaker of husband Arthur, (Sanjiban).

Together, in an abandoned warehouse turned makeshift laboratory, the two continue their experiments in hopes of a breakthrough which can cure brain tumors, as well as finding a reversal to the paralyzing effects that resulted from their first "A.I" experiment-or is everything as it seems? It's hard to tell in the convoluted mess of a movie that is "Magdalena's Brain."

If the above sounds interesting, that's about all the excitement you'll get in regards to "Magdalena's Brain," because the movie itself fails to deliver in any way, shape or form, and is a total snore-fest from beginning to its' so called "twist ending."

Apart from the bad acting, with the very slight exception for lead star Amy Shelton-White, the main problem with "Magdalena's Brain" is the pacing – or lack thereof. This was another one of those short run time movies (72 minutes to be exact) which felt like an eternity as it slogged through to its' "surprising conclusion."

Heretic films debuts "Magdalena's Brain" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. It's obvious the movie was filmed on a lower caliber digital camera as every shot is dull and has no depth to the images. As a result, to compensate for this, the filmmakers used many wide angle lenses to give the impression of depth; but for me it just didn't work.

The transfer itself is a decent enough presentation with acceptable color levels, bluish hues and natural looking flesh tones. Black levels were moderate while shadow delineation suffered somewhat due to the use of a mid-level digital camera to shoot the film on. I say "mid-level" because I have seen Indie films shot on cheap off-the-shelf digital cams and thankfully, at least this particular movie isn't one of them. No edge enhancement or dust was noticed, however, some compression issues popped up every now and then.

Audio comes way of a 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack. This was mostly a dialogue driven film, so the 2.0 did an acceptable job in delivering the sound clear and distortion free.

The special features section contains a commentary track by filmmakers, Warren Ameran and Marty Langford. To be honest, I only skimmed through this track as I couldn't endure sitting through the film a second time. What I did hear however, appeared to be a pleasant conversation between two men discussing the making of a low budget film.

There are 3 featurettes which range in run time from 2-4 minutes. There's a handful of deleted scenes which would have added nothing to the film. Rounding out the disc is a worthless 2 minute music video. It's not even a music video – it's just some guy strumming a guitar with some piano music, and talk-singing off key about the movie's plot points. I am sure it was meant to be funny, but when you already have a bad movie to begin with, this really shouldn't have been included. There is also an 8 minute video diary and a smattering of Heretic trailers – a few of their trailers are from some movies I have already seen – and I wasn't impressed at all with those either.

For the most part, the acting by lead star Amy Shelton-White is good enough to carry one through this film, but the rest of the cast are terrible.

I realize "Magdalena's Brain" is constrained by its low budget, and originates from Indie filmmakers, but I have seen enough of low budget Independent movies to realize as long as there is talent involved, any project will shine through despite whatever budget constraints a movie may be suffering from. In the case of "Magdalena's Brain," no shine exists at all – just a very dull sheen.