Alex Borden (Christopher Denham) stumbles into a park, wearing a hospital gown and streaked with blood. He sits down at one of the chess boards and in a daze reviews the events that have brought him to this stage. He remembers being a child and it was his birthday, so his mother (Sean Young) had baked a cake which she lit the candles on and brought to the table. However, after some good natured discussion about when to eat the cake, she suffered a nosebleed, a sign to Alex that all was not right and later, when he and his brother found their mother had eaten the family dog, his fears were confirmed. That night, their father (Larry Fessenden) woke them and hurried them to the car to help them escape, but their mother was advancing on them carrying kitchen knives. The father eventually had to blow a big hole in her head with a shotgun to save them, so is it any wonder Alex grew up a little disturbed?
Always be wary of films that don't bill their lead actor first in the opening credits, as Headspace does here, because it's the guest stars who win pride of place there. Not that the guest stars were particularly famous at this point in their careers, but they were better known than Denham, who on the strength of this attended the Ben Foster school of dramatic arts. After that intriguing prologue, it's unclear where the film is aimed, but after a while it proves to be a humdrum, would be Lovecraftian horror that is skimpy on the effects work, preferring to host conversations between the characters as they try to find out why Alex has developed, and is continuing to develop, ever-growing brain power. Is this suspenseful? Not especially, and it feels as if the script, by Steve Klausner and William M. Miller from Troy McCombs' story, needed more personality.
As opposed to the personalities who grace the screen, from Olivia Hussey as a psychiatrist amazed at Alex's ability to memorise whole books by flicking through them in twenty seconds, to William Atherton as a dodgy doctor interested in exploiting Alex's condition. Alex is really looking for his brother, and could there be a connection to the master chess player he meets in the park, Harry (Erick Kastel)? But more pressingly, who is killing off the people that he has encountered on his search for answers? Could it be that his burgeoning intellect has opened doors in the framework of reality? And why doesn't he appear any more intelligent at the end of the movie than he does at the start? The answers to these questions are fudged and the whole story appears to be one told by a half-interested party who never allows the characters to come alive. Only a gratuitous scene of female nudity really alleviates the pervasively blah feeling. Music by Ryan Shore.
[Metrodome's Region 2 DVD has a trailer, featurette and audio commentary as extras.]