24 April 2014

Scanners (1981)
103 min.
Directed by David Cronenberg.
With Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick McGoohan, Stephen Lack, Michael Ironside, Lawrence Dane, Robert Silverman.
Director David Cronenberg scores a minor winner with this 1981 espionage/science fiction/thriller.

A group of people - known as "scanners" - possess rare telekinetic and telepathic powers, among them the ability to scan the thoughts of those nearby.

Meanwhile, a security corporation named ConSec has been plagued by the terrorist acts of a rebel scanner known as Revok (Ironside). So ConSec enlists the aid of a down-and-out scanner named Vale (Lack) to find Revok.

On his quest to find Revok, Vale finds a vast underground of scanners, a posse of super powerful outcasts who only yearn for survival in the non-scanner world.

That's not what Revok wants. He wants scanners to unite and assume their dominance as an organized force of might.

But who will survive the clandestine showdown between Vale and Revok? And whoever the victor is, will the rest of humanity be safe?

No doubt Scanner is over the top at times - with it's gruesome depiction of exploding heads - but you can't deny the power of Dick Smith's wonderful special effects.

Nevertheless, it lacks a certain potency in many of its key sequences, due in part to some weak acting from the actors in pivotal roles.

Scanners is truly a futuristic thriller - rather than a more overt horror film such as the director's earlier efforts like Rabid or The Brood - and as such it never becomes the kind of transcendental odyssey we've come to expect from Cronenberg.

Still, solid entertainment.

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