I’m going to give this movie a lot of credit for the things it does well, but the most significant thing I got out of this was a clearer understanding of the difference between cheesy and hacky.
This should be my kind of movie – a riff on Scanners with more of a focus on the splatter effects. Complete with a synth score and neon color scheme, the trailer for this was screaming my name. But this is all splatter without any of the artful taste of Scanners. Where Scanners is carefully constructed and naturalistic, The Mind’s Eye is bursting with style that has little substance. Yes, it has the neon color palette I’ve recently been fond of, but it’s overdone to the point of not making any sense – as the camera cuts around to different angles the light sources constantly change to maintain an over-saturation of neon. It creates a distinct lack of perspective and has the cumulative effect of looking even more low-rent than it does to begin with.
But that is where I’ll give this movie credit – it does a lot with very little. While the farmhouse settings are completely unconvincing as some sort of mad-science lab, they’re functional and used to as much effect as possible. The make-up effects are really great, and a pleasure to see practical gore that still works as well as it always has. I love a reminder of how fantastic practical effects are. And this movie really goes for it – it’s got a nice pace, fairly well-laid out stakes, and it all escalates pretty effectively. The acting really hurts a lot of the stuff that is working unfortunately, and none of it is helped by how over-lit and overly stylized most of the shots are. But it’s clearly a low-budget affair that does what it’s trying to do pretty effectively.
I was left with the feeling that this was attempting to be a nice, cheesy throw-back to Cronenberg, but it missed the mark by being a hacky version of his movie, where they replaced all the thematic resonance with the aftermath of exploded heads.