Zack Connors and Rachel Meadows were born with incredible psychokinetic capabilities. When word of their supernatural talents gets out, they find themselves the prisoners of Michael Slovak, a deranged doctor intent on harvesting their powers. After a daring escape, they are free from his sinister institution, but the corrupt doctor will stop at nothing to track them down so that he may continue to siphon their gifts for his own use.
Just like how Stranger Things took us back to beloved to those beloved TV shows and films of the 80's, The Minds Eye rewinds the VCR once again. The intro is as cliched as can be, with the score of synthesized symphonies serenading us throughout the films entirety. It is a masterfully crafted trip down memory lane, only it's more like discovering a classic that you missed the first time around. I'm all for this this new trend of creating a heavily stylized movie rather than just remaking things that have been done time and time again. Sure, it's tugging on those heart strings and may get old pretty fast, but for me it's still a fresh and fun concept that thus far has been entirely entertaining.
The mid movie sex scene is dreadful though—super cringy. I don't recall watching a lot of sex scenes from those early 90's films as I was still a kid, and watching sex scenes with your parents is always the quietest, unerotic, and most awkward of moments. This one though was just embarrassing. Accessing my 90's spank bank, I instantly think of Red Shoe Diaries, Jenna Jameson, Chasey Lane, and the scores of Emanuelle spin-offs. The scene is this movie would have a hormone-filled fifteen year old struggling to sail the mayonnaise seas.
Euphemisms aside, the film is glorious. There is plenty of senseless, gratuitous violence accompanied by terrible one-liners. The special effects (Which totally work) meld seamlessly with wonderfully overdone sounds effects that will make you want to readjust your speaker settings. The overacting is also absolutely necessary; it's totally forced, but in such a way that it adds to the charm of the film rather than detracts from it. The story is solid as well; a shameless blend of Cronenberg's Scanners and King/Lester's Firestarter (Others have likened it to De Palma's Carrie, but I think Firestarter is a far better comparison here).
The characters, or perhaps caricatures, are the best part though. Although having far too many beards for the 90's, they casting is stellar. John Speredakos takes the cake as the mad scientist: Doctor Slovak. He reminds us of a time when villains were just pure, megalomaniacal narcissists that craved dominion over all. The character is completely outrageous and Speredakos owns every scene he is in. Graham Skipper does our protagonist justice as the cross-eyed psychokinetic Zack Connors, who is out to save his (of course) love interest and psychic sidekick, Rachel (Lauren Ashley Carter). There is also an enigmatic entourage of henchmen for our heroes to explode through, but non stuck out quite like Smirkyface McEyepatch (Whose actual character's name is the far less awesome “Travis,— played by Noah Segan.) Honourable mentions and Shout outs to Beard Guy One (Vince) and Beard Guy Two (Kurt) and Beard Guy Three (Rayne). I feel the urge to note here that Zach, his father, and the evil Doctor Slovak all sport facial hair of their own. Hell, even McEyepatch hadn't shaved for a week or two before filming.
Let's pause on the pogonophilia (look it up) and get back to the plot. Whereas a lot of sci-fi films lose their direction trying to plug the plot holes, The Minds Eye does nothing of the sort. The last half of the film is a brutal psychic brawl all the way through to the film’s climax. We get a little bit of everything: exploding limbs, decapitations, levitating weaponry, squirting stab wounds…the works. Nothing is left to the imagination and everything is over the top, but only as much as it needs to be. The film never loses sight of its vision and never enters that ridiculous SyFy state of silly. Rather, it manages to entertain exactly to the nth degree. It's exactly what it wanted to be, and that is an achievement in and of itself for any movie.
In short, if you enjoy cheesy, gory, 90's sci-fi, you cannot give this film a miss. It's everything it promises to be. If you don't like cheesy 90's gore and campy acting, stay the fuck away. I'd personally be very happy sitting down to a second viewing of this with a couch full of friends, a fridge full of beer, and a bowl full of weed-buttered popcorn. Catch the trailer below.
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