Lured by the promise of a reunion with his lost girlfriend Rachel, psychic drifter Zack is taken to the institute of the ambitious Dr Slovak, where he is told his powers will be studied. After discovering the place is more like a prison, he and Rachel stage an escape, only to be hunted by the mad doctor and his thuggish guards.
It’s clear after only a few minutes that Scanners is a significant touchstone for everything about The Mind’s Eye, but despite such lofty inspiration it unfortunately doesn't come close to even touching David Cronenberg’s sci-fi horror classic.
When a film has a sparse and simple plot this is usually compensated by using its time to instead focus on the characters, but no such luck here. Other than being in the unenviable position of being targeted by a power-hungry madman, Zack and Rachel give little reason to be sympathetic towards their plight as we learn almost nothing about who they are, and are subsequently given little reason to truly care about them.
To counter this and ensure you know where sympathy is supposed to lie, Slovak’s henchmen are an assortment anonymous sadists distinguishable only by their physical appearance (Beard, Long Hair, Eyepatch) and do little other than growl profanity-laden threats and overtly macho pronouncements, before being killed in increasingly horrific psychokinetically induced ways. The volume of this gore goes far beyond the intensity where shock and disgust make way for humour, but as the violence isn’t played for laughs the liberally sprayed viscera instead becomes a distraction rather than providing the brutal impact it intends. Which is a shame, as the quality of the practical effects is one of the few things the film has to recommend it.
To signify when anyone engages their powers some rather cool sound mixing is employed to create a warping echo, which really have been enough by itself, so it’s a shame that it was felt necessary to also provide a visual component. The greater the intensity of powers used, the more the telekinetic’s eyes bulge like they just sat on an upturned plug, while their faces are reddened by the kind of intense straining that puts you more in mind of trying to overcome an intense bout of constipation than blunt force psychic duelling.
Although The Mind's Eye has high aspirations, it’s let down by a vaguely defined premise, a thin plot and boring characters. And for one final point of disappointment, at no point in the story does mental imagery play any part, meaning that the film’s very title makes no sense.
THE MIND’S EYE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JOE BEGOS / STARRING: GRAHAM SKIPPER, LAUREN ASHLEY CARTER, JOHN SPEREDAKOS, LARRY FESSENDEN, NOAH SEGAN / RELEASE DATE: TBC