A good psychic freak takes on a group of bad psychic freaks……that’s all you need you know.
An interesting film which has a stimulating plot and eloquent script (despite the impression given by my synopsis above).
Patrick McGoohan gives a star turn as an eccentric scientist who has developed an interest in a group of people who have strange psychic abilities – known as “scanners” – and Stephen Lack does well as a “good” scanner whom he sends on a crusade to track down the “bad” scanners led by the brilliant and dictatorial Michael Ironside.
Cronenberg handles some decent action sequences, particularly the final battle scene between Lack and Ironside, and also throws in some classic gore effects for good measure. Of course, this film is infamous, for one scene alone: the head-exploding scene. (see clip below).
Howard Shore’s soundtrack is kind of epic too and gives the film a somewhat apocalyptic tone.
On the negative side, this film won’t really hold your attention unless you’re into sci-fi/body horror and some of the supporting cast are weak as well as uninteresting.
It’s pretty blatant that Cronenberg is playing on society’s fears of the mentally ill here and whilst some have hailed this film as a great comment on the attitudes of the time, I think his earlier movie “The Brood” (1979) offers a more advanced and frightening treatment of this issue.
At the end of the day, an enjoyable and entertaining film for those of us who like the genre but, if you don’t, it’s only really worth watching for the iconic head-exploding scene.
hotdog rating: 6/10