Red Mist (aka Freakdog) (2008)

Apparently, Red Mist (Breathnach, 2008) had little screen time following its release and, though it is a noble horror film, the fact that it didn't have the opportunity to spread its scientific message is probably a good thing. Putting a twist on revenge killing, Red Mist traces the fleeting footsteps of a cast-out loner, rendered comatose by a group of moody medical students not wanting to get caught for stealing hospital party drugs. By possessing and using the bodies of hospital staff during 'out-of-body' experiences, he exacts an elaborate revenge on the gothic group of geniuses responsible for his tragic situation, all from the comfort and safety of his hospital bed. Some of his methods are clever (acid beer-funnel!), some are just brutal (ever get your head stuck in a car door?), but all of them are purposefully directed and hatefully motivated.

Delightfully, Red Mist tries very hard to ground its fantastical story in real brain science. Indeed, the killer's angular gyrus (a region in the parietal lobe) is almost the star of this film. And this region did receive a bit of celebrity attention a few years ago in the scientific community, when a patient undergoing neurosurgery had her angular gyrus electrically stimulated. Surprisingly, the patient reported a number of phenomena including sensations of “sinking into the bed”, and seeing herself “lying in the bed, from above” (Blake, Ortigue, Landis, & Seek, 2002). According to the authors of the study, the angular gyrus likely plays a role in integrating information about body parts and their relations in space; when this region is disturbed, or electrically stimulated, hallucinations of being ‘out of body’ may occur. The overdosed coma patient in Red Mist shows electrical activity in this region and, of course, the poor doctors do not realize that this really means he can possess other peoples’ bodies to seek retribution. Though patients reporting out-of-body experiences rarely claim to experience possessing others, Red Mist makes a charming imaginative leap -- but one that we would not like to see reach the popular consciousness. 

Check out Red Mist (2008) here:

Blake, O., Ortigue, S., Landis, T., & Seeck, M. (2002). Simulating illusory own-body perceptions. Nature, 419, 19, 269-270. 
Breathnach, P. (Producer), Bosanquet, S. (Director). (2008). Red Mist [Motion picture]. Northern Ireland: Starz Entertainment.

No comments:

Post a Comment