The Mind’s Eye
Graham Skipper, Lauren Ashley Carter, John Speredakos
…a lot of fun…
The Mind’s Eye, from filmmaker Joe Begos (Almost Human), is a Scanners sequel in all but name. Set in the early 1990s, Graham Skipper plays Zack Conners, a psychic drifter who is one of several living in America whose powers are getting stronger. Hot on his tail is Dr. Slovak (John Speredakos), an overachieving authoritarian who wants to use the powers of people like Zack for his own nefarious purposes. Having “acquired” Zack’s former lover, Rachel (Lauren Ashely Carter), Slovak is able to coerce him into being part of his studies at his snowbound institute in the mountains. Obviously, it doesn’t take long before Zack decides that enough is enough and plans his escape.
It’s evident that this is a labour of love for Begos. The attention to detail is not to be faulted, and there are clear influences running throughout, such as the opening scenes which owe a little debt to Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood. Also of note is the film’s throbbing score from Steve Moore, which hits the sweet spot when it matters. And, seeing as this feels like a David Cronenberg offshoot, it’s entirely appropriate that The Mind’s Eye would try to out-Scanners Scanners and its infamous head explosion with a full body implosion/explosion. If this all sounds like a lot of fun, then step right up.
However, outside of capturing the pitch and tone of 1990s straight to video flicks, it’s hard to distinguish whether The Mind’s Eye is taking itself way too seriously, or if there’s a self-knowing humour buried away in its sober-sided delivery. Whichever side of the coin you fall on will ultimately determine how you tackle the film with its gruff delivery and several scenes of people squinting at each other in psychic battles.