Modern horror cinema has increasingly become a singular shade rather than an expansive palette; in recent years, it has fallen into the same set ups…the same jumps…the same handheld shaky cam…the same cold colours that bleed into each other. However, this is not to bemoan or undermine modern cinema; arguably, this is the nature of all cinematic trends and reflection is a key element of all generational identity. However, there has also been an undercurrent building, bubbling beneath the surface, which seeks to return to the past. To a time of hyper style, vivid colours and exploitation edge that felt raw and different. Arguably being ignited by Tarantino and Rodriquez’s Grindhouse project as homage to 1970s exploitation, the cult of the 1980s has been tapped more recently by the likes of The Guest and It Follows with tremendous success. Now, The Mind’s Eye joins the fray as a work of exceptional retrospective love, ignited with a passion for cinema, which comes together into a thrilling ride for genre devotees and modern audiences in search of something different.

Set in 1990s New England, The Mind’s Eye follows Zack Connors, a telekinetic on the run and pushed to the fringes of society. However, he finds himself captured and, after being convinced by the promise of being reunited with a lost love, inducted into a secret research facility, ruled over by Doctor Slovak. Quickly, Zack realises that Slovak’s intentions are far from philanthropic and he seeks to use Zack and other telekinetic individuals for his own nefarious intentions. With his life, and the fate of the one he loves on the line, Zack must find a way to escape before Slovak’s plans can come to fruition.

Developing on the promise suggested with his previous feature, Almost Human, director Joe Begos continues to mine the 80s horror genre to craft an ode to the cinema that he grew up with and inspired him. The two clearest reference points for The Mind’s Eye are, unquestionably, David Cronenberg’s Scanners and Brian De Palma’s The Fury, particularly evidenced in the visual identity of the film. Bold and tremendously exciting, Begos crafts an aesthetic that bursts off the screen; the contrasts of colour tones, between cold whites and blues, and intense reds and blacks, are extremely effective, reinforcing the kinetic sensibilities that drive the film forward, as it moves from sinister mystery, into a frenzy of exploitation level violence. And speaking of the violence, the gore on display is sensational; when he decides to unleash it, Begos delivers the almost pyrotechnic levels of splatter as viscera explodes across the frame, in a fashion that stands up to the level achieved by the most iconic moments of both Scanners and The Fury. Let’s face it; telekinetic explosions are never going to get old are they!

An equally bold and beautifully constructed soundtrack from Steve Moore supports these impressively realised visuals. Buzzing with energy, and laden with the charge of iconic synth, Moore’s raw and almost frenzied tone is an exquisite love letter to a sound that defined a generation of cinema, and just like his previous work on The Guest and Cub, displays a keen understanding of genre style and crafting music that entwines with directorial vision.

Perhaps the one element you can argue as a detriment in terms of the film being so ingrained in genre homage is the fact that, of course, it lacks originality and plays purely in a singular fashion. However, in my opinion, that is rather the point of its construction and is an inherent factor. The pleasure of The Mind’s Eye isn’t that it reinvents the wheel…but that it perfectly captures the ideas and style that it pursues. For the audience it targets, it is nothing short of a sleek and direct joy to behold. The independent spirit and obvious love for the medium creates a tone that, for genre fanatics, is inviting and remarkably exciting to be a part of.

Bold, energetic and gore splattered, The Mind’s Eye is an impressive achievement that manages to stand as both a pitch perfect homage to 1980s horror cinema, while having its own sense of self and willingness to commit to a concept absolutely. Without a double, The Mind’s Eye is destined to become a cult classic to delight midnight audiences in search of explosive, retro thrills.

Frightfest Glasgow Review: The Mind's Eye
4.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980’s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: mattpaul61@o2.co.uk