The goal of film student Harper and computer scientist Fallon is the ultimate fusion of science and religion, to create a film which induces hallucinogenic visions of God. Their film is a sharply edited sequence of rapid-fire images and a ticking clock, creating a striking symmetry and rhythm. They blend the unsettling aura of medieval art – angels, demons and tortured souls – with the logical geometry of religious architecture.
In a story where God is reduced to a neurological construct, a glitch in the human brain, there are inevitable repercussions. The film opens with a grainy, frantic hand-held confession foreshadowing events to come. Fallon is stalked by a masked being, the devil perhaps, or an aggravated religious sect. White crams a lot into nineteen minutes, challenging the morality of organised religion and exploring paranoia, with potential plot holes forming part of an intentionally blurred reality. The subtle crackling of an analogue recording adds to the eerie mood while giving us succinct character insights. ‘What was it that made me follow Fallon?’ asks Harper, ‘Was it a backlash to my Catholic schooling, the morbidity of faith?’
With a Best Short win at the British Horror Film Festival, this is a slick production. Imaginative visual effects, a clever utilisation of light and shadows, a tense piano score and natural performances successfully bring the potentially flawed concept to life. Philosophical with a chaotic pace, The Brain Hack creates its own exciting, mind-bending strand of theology.