Title: Cranial Nerve Zero

Also known as:
Nervo Craniano Zero (Original title)

Year: 2012

Genre: Comedy / Horror / Sci-fi

Language: Portuguese

Runtime: 88 min

Director: Paulo Biscaia Filho

Writer: Paulo Biscaia Filho

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2328691/

To make sure her second novel is a success, Bruna Bloch arranges so that her ex-boyfriend will perform an experiment on her using a chip he has developed. This chip, Melpomene, helps the brain to be creative. Not only that, it pushes it to the limit, to a state where all you do is empty your creativity. Before Bruna undergoes the procedure, she needs to see it done to someone else first so she puts up an ad. And Cristi, a failed singer with nothing to lose, responds.

Our thoughts:
Here's another one of those Brazilian flicks we've started seeing around town lately (the town is internet). I'm always interested in Brazilian (South American overall) movies because there's often an emphasis of being entertaining. I get a sense that they are often made by genuine fans, and that's probably where the joy of it all comes from. Even some of the lacking movies are at the very least entertaining. As for "Cranial Nerve Zero", it simply can't be terrible because it's just a stupid, fun time. It's basically the retarded great-grandson of "Frankenstein".

The whole thing kicks off with Bruna Bloch, a writer, who just got a successful book out. She's on a talk show being interviewed about her book (she and the female host later have a good time, no reasons explained - enjoying her success I suppose). At the same time with have a talent show on another channel, where we meet Cristilady (short: Cristi) Costa. She's a terrible singer, and her act is one of those you expect on Youtube later. And the final lead character: Bartholomeu Bava. He's a scientist and inventor of a chip that can help the brain's creativity. Bruna knows that her next book needs to be even better than the first one, and seeks the help of a man she has a past with - none other than Bartholomeu Bava. She doesn't trust him completely because his first human tester was his wife and she died (her head blew up), so she needs to find a guinea pig for him to test it on. Cristi answers her ad, and agrees to do it although she doesn't know what she is agreeing to. After the operation she seems to be nearly braindead, but soon she starts writing, and writing, and writing. I don't need to get into the plot after that, but as you can imagine, Bruna Bloch is a little bitch and some killing and hating follows.

This is innocently stupid. It wants nothing else, so it works. It has a few funny moments, but above everything else it's a campy, weird little sci-fi horror. It has some good ideas, and it's certainly a good production, but I guess the main problem is that the story never gets going strong. You always expect it to get further, but it's kept small. That doesn't mean it's without action, though, as we have some fun scenes of decapitations, a severely burned body, and a surgery scene (I might be forgetting something).

The surgery scene is a very important scene, because I got a really strange vibe from it. While they are cutting open her head, revealing the brain, in a very slow scene, the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is playing. Oddly enough, it felt melancholic and a bit creepy. Totally out of place within the movie (except that Cristi loves music and requested the radio to be on while they did it, thus the song) but strangely perfect as well. I'm sure that I am the only person who reacted this way to the scene, but I don't care. That scene was excellent because of it!

This isn't a perfect movie at all, but at least it has the decency to admit that it's silly. Some lines are so weird that I found that alone to be amusing. Our characters are wacko and quite stupid, and that's why it all works. It's a light-hearted good time, but one that probably only some people will enjoy. I had definitely expected more out of the movie, but in general I don't have a lot of things to complain about. Which usually means it was good or mediocre. The latter in this case. I think you should check it out if it sounds like something you would enjoy, because there is a possibility that you will.

Positive things:
- The surgery scene.
- Stupid and fun!
- The characters worked really well off of each other. A solid trio of odd personalities.
Negative things:
- It lacks in the development, and doesn't feel like it ever fully blooms.
- A bit more violence, maybe add a death scene or two (a visitor, maybe) and it could've been even more fun.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 0.5/5
Story: 2/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 3/5

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