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Review: THE MIND’S EYE (2015)

In 2013 Joe Begos (BLISS) caught everyone by surprise with his debut film, ALMOST HUMAN, a tale of alien abduction and its aftermath. It felt like a loving flashback to the 80s. Now he’s back with THE MIND’S EYE, which wants to accomplish the same thing, using films like SCANNERS and THE FURY as its template.

Zach Conners (Graham Skipper ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, BEYOND THE GATES) has powerful psychic abilities which bring him to the attention of Dr. Michael Slovak (John Speredakos MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL). Slovack runs a clinic that purports to help people like Zach harness their abilities. We first see Zach as he loses control of those powers while being hassled by a couple of cops, so this would seem like a good thing. However, the doctor isn’t what he seems to be and has his sights set on stealing the powers of his “guests’. He and Rachel (Lauren Ashley Carter GAGS, BLACK SITE) break out. Of course, the doctor and his henchmen aren’t going to simply let them go.

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THE MIND’S EYE signals its intent right from the start with an opening the recalls the start of FIRST BLOOD with a telekinetic twist. The film rarely slows down after that and keeps the action and blood flowing. Thankfully, it does keep the plot coherent despite the fast pace. About the longest, it ever slows down is for a sequence between Zach and his father Mike (Larry Fessenden WE ARE STILL HERE, DEPRAVED). It’s no spoiler to say even that ends up bloody. In true 80s fashion, we have not only psychically rendered violence. Guns, fists and a large axe come into play frequently. And yes, there is an exploding head.

The plot is simple enough not to get in the way of the action, but still complex enough to throw a few twists at the audience. The details are familiar enough, the sinister doctor, the mysterious clinic with brutal “orderlies” and the heroic couple. It’s vintage horror updated with modern, (but still practical), effects and ideas. The effects do shine, and not just the deaths. Check out Slovak’s increasingly distorted and mutated appearance as the film goes on. By the final confrontation, his face looks barely human, twisted and distorted by his experiments. It’s a wonderfully creepy and disgusting sight.

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The acting is solid, even if there’s usually little to do beyond acting scared or angry. Fessenden shines in his brief appearance, and that father and son sequence gives the film most of its emotional core. There are also some romantic scenes between Zach and Rachel, but that’s almost to be expected. And if the supporting cast looks familiar, it should, with familiar genre faces including Jeremy Gardner (THE BATTERY, AFTER MIDNIGHT), Noah Segan (DEADGIRL, SCARE PACKAGE), Michael A. LoCicero (EREBUS).

THE MIND’S EYE is a fun, violent and splattery film. It’ll have you digging through your collection for some vintage Cronenberg or DePalma to follow it with.

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