It’s established fact that “time travel” is the best plot to lean on if you want to make sci-fi on an indie film budget.
“Cerebrum” is a twisty, confusing time bending tale of a son (Christian James) who walks into his estranged father’s (James Russo) memory-digitizing scheme for beating Alzheimer’s.
Dad is sure this DIY gear at his rural, desert-country lab will work. Will son Tom try it out?
“I don’t want to fry my brain,” Tom complains. But eventually he relents — for a price, a cash price.
But there’s also the way these memories can be retrieved, inside another person’s body. Tom is sometimes Tom, and sometimes he’s father Kirk (Russo).
It would take a helluva acting job to pull that off, and a better script to make that dilemma and those distinct points of view compelling.
As the story takes us back to the father’s past, and gives us glimpses of the future, Tom’s concerns grow as he sees Dad’s video diary and sees “video of me strangling you.” Crime enters the equation and memories become as mixed-up as our notion of who it is we’re seeing in this given scene.
Long review short, “Cerebrum” isn’t much fun to sit through and isn’t smart enough to compensate for that.
It’s sci-fi on a budget, but it’s not the budget that kills it. It’s the script.
MPA Rating: unrated
Cast: Christian James, James Russo, Alexxis Lemire, Andy Pisharody and John Ruby
Credits: Directed by Arvi Ragu, script by Arvi Ragu and Gary D. Houk. An SP release.
Running time: 2:01