In 2013 Joe Begos caught everyone by surprise with his debut film, Almost Human, a tale of alien abduction and it’s aftermath the felt like a throwback 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 it’s template.
Zach Conners (Graham Skipper Tales of Halloween, Carnage Park) has powerful psychic abilities which bring him to the attention of Dr. Michael Slovak (John Speredakos Innkeepers, House of the Devil), who runs a clinic that purports to help people like Zach harness their abilities. Considering we first see him as he loses control of those powers while being hassled by a couple of cops, 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 Pod, Jug Face) break out, but the doctor and his henchmen aren’t going to simply let them go.
The Mind’s Eye signals it’s 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, pausing just long enough to keep the plot coherent. About the longest it ever slows down is for a sequence between Zach and his father Mike (Larry Fessenden We Are Still Here) and even that ends up badly. In true 80s fashion we have not only psychically rendered violence, but guns 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 and keep things interesting up until the end. The details are familiar enough, the sinister doctor, the mysterious clinic with brutal “orderlies”. It’s vintage horror updated with modern, (but still practical), effects and ideas. And the effects do shine, not just the deaths but Slovak’s increasingly distorted and mutated appearance as the films 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.
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 it’s emotional core. there’s 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) , Noah Segan (Deadgirl), Michael A. LoCicero (Almost Human).
The Mind’s Eye is a fun, violent and splattery film. It’ll have you digging through your collection for some vintage Cronnenberg or DePalma to follow it with.