Reviews: The Mind's Eye (2016)

Raul reviews the SDCC 2016 indie darling, The Mind's Eye. 

Writer and director Joe Begos presents to us The Mind’s Eye, a clear homage to the early works of David Cronenberg and his classic telekinesis horror film Scanners (1981). He has stated that this is meant to be an unofficial sequel to the original motion picture and an attempt to improve upon the two official sequels that were released in 1991 and 1992. The story takes place in 1990 and involves Zach Connors (Graham Skipper) and Rachel Meadows (Lauren Ashley Carter), a couple who have extraordinary psychokinetic abilities between the both of them. They become the prisoners of a mad doctor (John Speredakos) who is trying to use them and others with similar abilities in order to harvest their powers for himself. Their only hopes of survival are to escape.

Where's Michael Ironside when I need him?

This is by no means a masterpiece, but it is a loving tribute to the early 1980’s works of Brian DePalma and David Cronenberg that were visceral and featured body horror. It is highly entertaining, fast-paced, and wildly delivers on action and over the top death scenes and gore. The negative aspects of this movie are greatly outweighed by the level of violence and surprisingly good special effects. There are only a few small hiccups involving the effects that some people may not even notice. The electronic score by Steve Moore is absolutely incredible and is very reminiscent of the 1980’s and various films from that era that featured similar music. The opening title sequence completely blew me away with the combination of the score, footage, and font that resembled those from Videodrome.

Someone get me some Ibuprofen. 
The main issues with this are the selections of the lead cast. It’s hard to tell if the director purposely miscast actors in order to replicate the type of casting decisions that were made on early Cronenberg work, or if this was just a case of bad judgment. Either way, Skipper feels miscast as Connors and Speredakos is a bit over the top at times when playing the evil doctor Slovak. They are both 
serviceable and do a decent enough job, but a pair of slightly better actors would have brought both characters up a notch. Carter is the stand out here, delivering an excellent performance as Meadows. Unfortunately, she does not have as much screen time as the previously mentioned actors. There are also some moments where I found myself questioning some of the characters decisions that were being made. It seemed that logic was thrown aside at times in order to further the plot or have a specific character left around for a later scene. There is also a very unusual sex scene montage that is obviously meant to be a tribute to Cronenberg, but I found it so strange that I could have done without it.

Regardless of these perceived flaws observed by this viewer, this is an undoubtedly entertaining trip back to an era that is loved by many fans. This is destined to emerge as a modern cult classic and favorite midnight movie among sci-fi and horror geeks.

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- Raul Vantassle