Review: Scanners 3 – The Takeover / Cert: 18 / Director: Christian Duguay / Screenplay: B.J. Nelson, Julie Richard, David Preston / Starring: Liliana Komorowska, Steve Parrish, Valerie Valois / Release Date: April 8th
Now that's more like it. Following the dour, dull rehash of earlier events that was Scanners II, the Scanners franchise finally begins to realise some of its potential. Compared to the work of David Cronenberg, it's a pretty bad film, but then everything seems pretty bad when you compare it to the work of David Cronenberg. At last, we get a film in which the Scanners use their telekinetic abilities for entertainingly nefarious means, exploding a finger (it's no head explosion, but it'll do) and making a man's eyeballs pop out of his face like Arnie in Total Recall.
Scanners III is a movie which opens with a man in a Santa outfit being thrown out of a skyscraper window. This may not be the best Scanners movie, but it is the most entertaining one. Yes, even more so than Cronenberg's. It's the movie in which the series finally lets itself have some fun.
Christian Duguay is back in the director's chair (filming back to back with Scanners II, he never really left it) working from a script which is far less derivative of the first movie than its predecessor was. Affected by the painful side effects of her powers, a young Scanner begins trying an experimental new drug called Eph-3. Side effects may include megalomania and loss of conscience. Helena (Komorowska) is transformed from a mild-mannered young thing into a malevolent nut. It's not long before she's murdering her father, forcing uptight suits to perform The Full Monty on restaurant tables and making TV presenters talk dirty to one another live on air. Alerted that something might be amiss, her estranged brother Alex (Parrish) must attempt to put a stop to this loved one's telekinetic rampage. It's like The Dark Phoenix Saga all over again.
The worst received of the three Scanners movies, (although, to be fair, one of those was directed by David Cronenberg) The Takeover is very different to everything which came before. The template is broadly the same – good Scanner vs bad Scanner – but it's less about government conspiracy and paranoia, more a movie about a renegade Scanner running about making things explode and convincing people to do bad things to themselves and others. The best kill of the movie – a man who jumps from a diving board into an empty swimming pool, splattering himself all over the tiles below. It's hardly the classy mind war of Scanners, but it is brilliantly schlocky. There's even another head explosion, albeit an underwater one.
As with the previous movie in the trilogy, there are no extras with this Blu-ray transfer. It looks and sounds good, but it's a very no-frills release. Still, we should be glad that they opted not to go with the movie's alternate title – Scanner Force, which makes it sound even cheaper than it already is.
Scanners III is exploitative, silly and fun. Fast paced and nasty, it's almost everything one could hope for from a movie about angry psychics mind-punching one another in the face until one or both of them explodes.