“The best scanners sequel we never got!” This tagline is thrown on the front of the cover art. With that kind of praise, how could I not watch this? I love Scanners. I love it enough that I have the two sequels, which are…uneven at best. I’ll even pick up the Scanner Cop sequels if they ever come out. So, is The Mind’s Eye really deserving of such a claim?
The Film: 3/5
We start the film with our protagonist, Zack Connors. His psychokinetic powers, as they are called, have wreaked havoc on him. At the start, his powers are mostly out of control, and he is found shambling along the side of the road. A couple of police officers take him in where he meets Doctor Slovak, the obvious wolf in sheep’s clothing. Slovak informs Zack that he runs an institute helping people like him control their powers and offers him a place in the institute. Zack agrees on the condition that he will be reunited with his girlfriend, Rachel.
Once Zack is in the institute and the lies start to show through, he realizes that he must reconnect with Rachel on his own terms. The two escape from the facility and go on the run. The events that unfold become pretty obvious at this point in the film. There will be a portion of the movie where the facility chases after him. This will lead to a time when it is clear the escapees must turn the tables on the institute and go after Slovak.
Since The Mind’s Eye has an 87-minute running length, everything happens pretty quickly. The beginning moves a bit sluggishly as the film tries to set up the characters and the motivations for escape, but once we leave the institute there isn’t much rest. At this point, we move from altercation to altercation at a breakneck pace, and all these incidents are worth the wait in-between. For the most part, they are all pleasing to the viewer. Additionally, the action offers certain grittiness to the plot and the practical effects are a treat in this day and age.
I will admit that initially I wasn’t that into this one. In the beginning, I thought it was going to be a poorly paced movie. It just wasn’t showing the depth to support the slow speed it was moving at. It seemed like it was just borrowing too much from Scanners without anything interesting or new. As a result, I was prepared to offer it a pretty low score from that point in the movie. However, once it got moving, it really turned around for me. I truly enjoyed it from the moment they escaped until the very end.
The characters and acting are all fine. I don’t think anyone is quite as engaging as Ironside from Scanners, but all key players are better than Stephen Lack. Perhaps one of these will grow to be a pleasant familiar face in Sci-fi like David Hewlett. They all do a good enough job of keeping you in the movie. Though I did feel like Speredakos was the most enjoyable of the bunch. He was over the top at times and on the verge of being a comic book villain, but it works for his character.
Overall, I found this to be a fine movie and a fun ride. Also I think practical effects enthusiasts will be pleased. Gore enthusiasts will be happy when it comes, but might be disappointed at the lack of frequency. The pacing comes together after the initial setup and the characters are just interesting enough.
Picture Quality: 3.5/5
The Mind’s Eye is a dark film. Thankfully, the transfer shows detail throughout all the dark shots. I never really noticed any murkiness or artifacts in those darker scenes. Also, the movie has a ton of shots in the snow and those shots look beautifully crisp. Overall a very solid transfer that maintains the feeling of the gritty film.
Audio Quality: 4/5
Throughout The Mind’s Eye, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers. The score sets the mood very well in surround while borrowing heavily from Scanners. All the tense moments are effectively set with the audio track and all dialog is clear. The surround is effective and all the action scenes are powerful enough whether or not you take the advice at the beginning of the movie to play it loud.
Special Features and Packaging: 3.5/5
A Look Into the Eye of Madness: This is a nice little 30-minute featurette. It involves every character with a sizable role, perhaps the entire cast. Also, this feature includes the director and a number of the behind the camera talent. They discuss what the shooting was like and how they approached different parts of the production. Pleasantly, everyone seems to have really enjoyed shooting the movie. On the other hand, pretty much everyone lamented just how much snow there was and how cold it was during the shoot. It is nice to see everyone enthusiastic about working on The Mind’s Eye.
Commentary with Joe Begos: Joe is the writer/direct/producer of The Mind’s Eye. This commentary is him recalling stories and experiences of making the movie. I’ll admit, I felt it underwhelming and slow for much of it. The commentary does pick up in the middle of the film and I enjoyed hearing about working with Fessenden. However, I just don’t think it is one that merits multiple listens.
Commentary with Joe Begos, Zak Zeman, Josh Ethier and Graham Skipper: Graham is the lead actor of the film and the rest are behind the camera talents with Zak and Josh being producers. Not surprisingly, this is a much more active commentary. Slightly less informative, but still a lot of chatter about how things were accomplished. They all really seem to have enjoyed working on The Mind’s Eye aside from the cold and snow. Comparatively, I think I’d find myself listening to this one again much sooner than the other commentary track.
Poster Gallery: I found this to be a little underwhelming personally. We’re talking three posters here. But hey at least they are giving us a little more.
Trailer: I don’t think I have to explain this one.
RLJ gives us a nice reversible cover for The Mind’s Eye. I’m not usually big on reversible covers and like interior art just as much. For once though, I really like the interior artwork better and will display it over the standard.
The Mind’s Eye is a nice trip down memory lane for fans of Scanners and its franchise. It keeps a good solid pace and features some solid practical effects. The characters and acting are good enough to keep you watching. The concept is perhaps a retread in some ways, but I think it is a fun concept to explore. I think this movie does the premise justice. The technical side of things are perfectly fine. While they aren’t overwhelmingly fantastic, they do present the material well. Overall, I have to give this a solid recommendation and anyone interested can grab from Amazon here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.