The Mind’s Eye (2016)

This movie raises a lot of questions (and eyebrows), but I found myself unable to turn away from it. From the straight-out-of-the 1980s soundtrack to the sudden, over-the-top violence, this movie is ridiculous and weird. And, you know, I like that sort of thing.

It took me a while to figure out if this movie knew it was ridiculous. When was I certain it did? That ridiculous, horrible (horrific?) sex scene. Sure, the sex scene itself wasn’t so bad (we can talk about the lack of chemistry between those two later), but those cuts to Dr. Slovak’s face as he’s getting his injection have to be the least sexy thing I have ever seen.

Don’t get me wrong, the actor himself (John Speredakos, I guess?) isn’t that bad looking. But that is not a sexy scene. And it is not something you can put into any serious sex scene, so this movie definitely knows it’s ridiculous. And that’s mostly okay here, but not always. The timeline is short so parts of the story feel rushed or nonexistent — like character development.

I didn’t feel like I knew anything about Zack or Rachel at the start of the film and I didn’t feel like I’d learned enough about either of them to care what happened to them by the end of the film. In fact, the only character developed enough for me to be (spoilers ahead) sad when he met his gruesome end was Zack’s estranged father (played by Larry Fessenden, who’s been in a bunch of things lately).

I also felt like the nature and practice of psychokinesis was wildly inconsistent throughout the film. At times Zack had to use gestures to move things and at times he didn’t (it didn’t feel like this was linked to the power suppression injections he was getting), and it wasn’t really clear to me how Slovak’s powers were manifesting (though maybe that’s part of the point).

When Brian Morvant appeared on screen my first thought was “do all these actors hang out together and have awesome conversations about scary movies all the time?” and my second thought was “how do I become a part of that group?” and my third thought was “oh wait, they’re probably all working with the same casting crews” and immediately dashed my own hopes. But if there is such a group (maybe there’s a Slack community out there?), please let me know.

Also, the dialogue isn’t great in this one. I feel like that’s been a problem with a few movies I’ve seen lately, and more commonly with the indie films. Is it expensive to find a script editor for an indie horror film? I feel like there are a lot of great one-liners that go unsaid, and some small tweaks that could really improve the conversation flow…I’m just saying, I think that would be my dream job. 

Anyhow, this is a ridiculous film that’s a mostly entertaining throwback to 80’s horror. It’s hard to take a film seriously when its climactic moments are essentially staring contests. And I imagine “think at that object really hard” isn’t the easiest direction to follow. Maybe I’ll try it some time and record my attempts.

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