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Cameron hears voices in his head, suffers headaches, but has extraordinary but wayward mental powers. He is taken in by Dr Paul Ruth, who tells him he is a scanner. A drug was issued to women suffering a difficult pregnancy, with the unforeseen side-affect of creating scanners in their offspring. But Ruth’s work is continually hit by attacks from Derryl Revok, a very powerful psychotic scanner, and his underground movement. Events spiral towards a violent and devastating battle of wills between Cameron and Revok...
Not much of a plot, but a phenomenal premise from the mind of writer/director and sometime actor David Cronenberg.
Cronenberg made quite a name for himself in the 1980s with a string of very weird and often gory horror flicks, such as The Brood, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, the remake of The Fly, and later the excellent Existenz. Add to this the villainous talents of Michael Ironside and the cool, formal professionalism of Patrick McGoohan, and it seems we have a ready made recipe for success.
The idea alone carries this film. After all, who isn’t just a little spooked at the prospect of someone getting inside their head, reading and manipulating thoughts and actions.
Viewing this years later, the sheer strength of the notion allows it to stand up. However, the style and music is very much set in the 1980s, and so doesn’t stand the test of time that well. It’s interesting to remember where powerful films like this came from, and the trials they had to endure at the hands of the censors.
Of course, Scanners will always be known for the head-exploding scene and very little else. I should just note that each of the three Scanners films are being issued as single releases, which begs the question, why? Surely a trilogy boxset would have made more sense.
Extras consist of five long interviews with cast and crew.