Written by J. Weagle
Mind over matter.
There are a lot of things to like really like in The Mind’s Eye, the first feature film from director Joe Begos who is previously known for directing the television series Almost Human. You’ll find a truly interesting plot that revolves around psychokinesis and the ability to make peoples heads explode, but at the same time that is backed up with some not so great performances and some unstable directing that makes it feel like a straight up made for TV movie. There is no denying the coolness however, and some absolutely incredibly special effects make The Mind’s Eye a hilariously enjoyable experience.
The film follows Zack Connors who was born with incredible psychokinetic capabilities. After roughing up some police officers word of his supernatural talents get out and he finds himself a prisoner of Michael Slovak, a deranged doctor who wants his powers. Zack learns that their are others like him being held prisoner, specifically Rachel Meadows, an old friend/lover and after a year they attempt a daring escape. Now free from the corrupt and insane doctor, they quickly learn he will stop at nothing to hunt them down. Overall the story feels compact, and is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film. Sure it’s not completely original in it’s approach but it is how it borders the line of cheese so well. It does a good job of taking itself serious and completely investing in the alternate world it creates, but at the same time never lets you forget just how ridiculous the whole situation is.
For me most of the issues with the film come in the way it is presented. While the pacing is great, it’s the directing that loses its identity pretty quickly. The film opens with a very 1980’s feel to it, but as it moves along it turns into a more made for television version of what it should be. Often using unique camera techniques that are more commonly acceptable in a television drama or an episode of American Horror Story. It probably doesn’t help that director Joe Begos only previous work has been in the television realm, but for storytelling and mood purposes those techniques don’t always transfer well to the big screen.
The acting is another weak spot, but I don’t put all this on the actors, as the tone of the film is a bit scattered. Some moments come of as cringe worthy but I was never fully aware if that was the intent of the filmmakers or just bad decision making. Other scenes are played completely serious, and these are the ones I think work the best. The one performance that felt consistent throughout however was John Speredakos, as the bat shit crazy Doctor Slovak who stays a perfect level of over the top throughout the entirety of the movie.
If you are a fan of some good ol fashion blood and guts (or brains rather) then The Mind’s Eye does a terrific job at delivering the goods. Whether it’s a bullet wound, or an exploding face this film deserves a standing ovation for its gore, making every action scene feel important. The violence is one of the few things I felt stayed consistent and makes this film worth watching for it alone.
It was impossible to not feel a little underwhelmed with The Mind’s Eye, despite it’s really cool story and interesting take on the body horror genre. Some have billed it as the sequel to Scanners that we never got, in some ways that is true but Scanners felt like a much more credible film. There is some fun to be had here however despite it’s often moody tone. Moments when the violence erupts makes for an enjoyable time, it is just too bad that the film couldn’t carry that feeling in every scene. With that being said it is an intriguing film that offers a uniqueness not often found in modern genre films, and for that reason alone The Mind’s Eye is worth a watch.