movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: “There are 4 billion people on earth. 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created… and they are winning.”

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by David Cronenberg (eXistenZ, Videodrome, The Fly, The Naked Lunch).

Starring Stephan Lack as Camerone Vale — whose career went nowhere. His acting is perceived as bad in this movie, but I think it was kind of on purpose, as he was somebody who never really got to live a real life. Of course he would be stiff and naive and kind of robotic. But it still comes off as bad acting. And maybe it was. Bad guy Revok is played by Michael Ironside (X-Men:First Class, Terminator Salvation, The Machinist, Starship Troopers, McBain [yes that’s a movie!], Total Recall, Highlander 2, Top Gun, Lois Lane’s dad, General Sam Lane, in 3 episodes of Smallville, Darkseid in 4 eps of Justice League, as well as the 1990s Superman cartoon, Colonel Moss in the Wolverine & The X-Men cartoon, and Ham Tyler from the original V series).

The doctor was Patrick McGoohan, who I guess was famous as John Drank in Danger Man and Secret Agent back in the 1960s. He was also King Edward I in Bravehaeart and The Phantom‘s dad in The Phantom (1996). He died on my birthday in 2009.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Government sponsors murder.

QUIRKS: Exploding head scene. Slowness. Nothing happening. Slowness. Government conspiracy. Slowness.

VISUALS: Exploding head scene. Buncha sterile 70’s locations with people talking. Shotguns.

The head exploding scene is really overrated.

The green computerized credits were really cool, though.

SOUNDTRACK: None that I remember.


If you have powers, best not to get involved with anybody or anything, because humanity fucking sucks.

If you’re pregnant, don’t take new drugs on the market.

POLITICS: Fuck the government. Especially secret agencies.

GOOD STUFF: The ending battle actually worked out differently than I thought it would, which was kind of neat.

BAD STUFF: Slow. Boring. Slow. Boring. Hardly anything happens.

The ridiculous fucking idea that if you are telepathic and can access human nervous systems, that you must therefore be able to access computers, because “they have nervous systems too”. What utter fucking bullshit.

The acting when people get scanned. Having to shake and act like “oh no i’m being scanned”. The scanner battles. The expressions the actors make. CORNY!

The only guns are shotguns — you better believe it! Then again, if a scanner may be messing with your aim while you are trying to kill him, a shotgun’s wide blast radius might be the only way you still manage to hit them.

Yes, a computer can make a telephone booth explode. DEAL WITH IT. Ha ha ha.

CONCLUSION: An overrated cult classic that is not deserving of its notoriety. Dated, slow, boring, preposterous (even for the world it took place in), NOT gory like its reputation, and certainly not groundbreaking in the least. The 2011 remake’s gonna be better. It can’t NOT be.

Clint: Netflix: 2/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6.6/10. “I thought it was somewhat interesting. It wasn’t ground-breaking though…”
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.7/10, Netflix: 3.2/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was the same–3.2/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: I’m waiting for the 2011 remake. It’s got to be better than this.


Cameron Vale: You called me a scanner. What is that?
Paul Ruth: Freak of nature, born with a certain form of ESP; derangement of the synapses which we call telepathy.Mood: annoyed
Music: Sisters Of Mercy – Lucretia My Reflection