Brush With Death, A (2006)

A Brush With Death (click for larger image)Starring Seanna McDonald, Missy Sturges, Lily Vu, Nikki Cordell, Ali Thurlow

Directed by Brad Wiebe

Picture it… You’re on a date and things are going REALLY well! Things are getting pretty hot and heavy, and she’s actually letting you take off her top! This is something that has been on your mind all night because this girl is stacked! You skillfully work the clasp on her bra. Tossing it aside absentmindedly, you move in for the succulent fruits of your efforts. You start looking for your crayons, however, when you realize that what you thought was going to be an all-you-can-eat buffet has somehow transformed into a selection from the kiddie menu. In utter disbelief you quickly search for an explanation, and there you find it … crumpled on the floor next to the couch … the deceiver, that only a moment before had hidden a pair of tiny secrets: the padded, push-up bra!

My husband calls this scenario “false advertising.”

Well, I just encountered the cinematic version of just such a circumstance, and it was called A Brush With Death. In order to convey to you the full extent of the comparison, I will use the actual bra … oh, I mean blurb from the back of the DVD screener I have in my hand.

“Five cheerleaders spend the night in an abandoned farmhouse and find themselves up against a vengeful ghost. They soon find out the spirit is from a dead boy who painted a portrait of the brother he killed forty years earlier.

– In the vein of Grudge II and Saw III”

Let’s break it down, shall we?

“Five cheerleaders spend the night in an abandoned farmhouse.” Ummm, no … There are indeed five girls, and you do later find out that they are cheerleaders so that is true, but they “pass” the abandoned farmhouse on the way to a multi-million dollar estate owned by one of the girls’ rich uncle and stay there. There is talk of spending the night at the decrepit house, but they don’t make it there until 3/4 of the way through the film.

“and find themselves up against a vengeful ghost.” Suuuuure, if you say so. First off, they are only really in the “murder house” for about 10 minutes at the end of the film. Second, you’d be more likely to find a review of Norbit on Dread Central than to find a “ghost: in this film!

“They soon find out the spirit is from a dead boy.” Ahhh… Nope! No spirit, remember? Plus, dead boys don’t usually have grown children.

“who painted a portrait of the brother he killed forty years earlier.” I do vaguely recall some paintings being done, and I believe the “forty years earlier” part refers to the flashback sequences that are thrown into the film at random moments as a miserable explanation of what happened in the house before it was left to rot.

And these girls don’t “find out” anything. They are on a trip alone, in a house that is worth more than most of us can ever even dream of earning in a lifetime, and they are playing truth-or-dare in their undies with a strange guy they have never met before! They are not all blonde, but they are all pretty much brain-dead! They have NO IDEA anything is going on at all!

They swim and talk and flirt and swim and walk and swim. They don’t even seem to care when one of them disappears in the beginning of the film with no explanation to the characters OR the audience! They play truth-or-dare!!! Come on! My 14-year-old daughter and her friends play that! Not to mention it was one of the lamest games of truth-or-dare EVER! One takes a sip of alcohol, passes out, has a ridiculous 5-minute dream quest, wakes up in her bed the next day, and NO ONE is alarmed that she had ever been unconscious! One of the girls ends up in the abandoned house to make out with a guy, and after they have a spat, she sleeps away the rest of the day in the notorious house on what appear to be clean linens!

I won’t even get into the disgusting pervert that runs the local store. Suffice it to say his elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor. Then there’s the stuttering local boy who looks like he should be chugging beer at a frat party instead of covered with dirt and taking orders from the pervert I just mentioned, and the skinny dork who just shows up out of nowhere and “gets the girl.”

“In the vein of Grudge II and Saw III.” Bwahahahaha!!!! This one kills me! I can’t even begin to explain what is wrong with that description! I guess they are just trying to leech off the popularity of the titles because they even have “HORROR IS HOTTER THAN EVER $379,000,000” in huge lettering across the top of the DVD cover in reference to the genre box office in 2006. I just hope they didn’t actually expect to make any money from A Brush With Death. They are more likely to have A Brush With Unemployment.

It’s a shame how bad this movie ended up being. The final moments of the film were chaotic, relatively well done, and nearly enjoyable, even if they were horridly predictable and cliché. Bad acting aside, the effects and some of the direction were admirable; too bad only about 10 minutes out of 83 were actually worth watching. The DVD will include a trailer and a still gallery, which, unless it includes nude layouts of the girls, probably won’t add any value to a worthless disc.

So here I sit, staring at the DVD cover of a movie that promises one thing and delivers quite another! A thin, plastic rectangle with a padded description that entices you into believing you are about to watch a ghost story, only to be greeted by a flimsy slasher-style film riddled with flashbacks and sequences of unnecessary violence for violence’s sake. A Brush With Death attempts to be a shocking, disturbing film and ends up a total nonsensical mess! Hey, if five quasi-hot girls who spend 80% of the film in bikinis or undies can’t keep my husband on the couch for 83 minutes, then you know there’s a problem!

1 out of 5

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Jon Condit