For Reel

Scanners (1981)
December 17, 2015, 5:18 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Cronenberg
2.5 Stars
ScannersDavid Cronenberg had succeeded in bridging the psychological and visceral gap with The Brood, a film in which a woman’s rage against her family manifested as murderous offspring. With Scanners, the film in which Cronenberg first achieved mainstream success, he continued that pattern by focusing on telepaths whose “scanning” plays as a disturbing violation with gruesome consequences. The thought that humanity is forcibly evolving into a hive mind where people are connected through their nervous systems plays as slightly prophetic in a time when the internet and social networks have complicated what it means to be an individual, but unfortunately Scanners has not aged well in other ways. By the time Scanners really gets going–in the aforementioned suggestion of a dehumanizing corporation instigating these psychological changes; in the brother vs. brother climax–it peters out (albeit with an admittedly memorable finale). And if Cronenberg is more than the sum of his visceral thrills, it is nonetheless disappointing to see such a visually imaginative surrealist simply have actors stare at each other and convulse. Telekinesis, as it turns out, is not the most cinematic of powers, and relying on Stephen Lack’s mask-like visage to tell the story of these mental encroachments is a severe handicap.

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