Last night I was fortunate to take in a David Cronenberg double bill at the lavish Plaza Theatre in Stockport. The evening was run by the Grimm Up North people who put on an excellent show which attracted a decent crowd. The first film on the bill was Scanners, Cronenberg’s 1981 science fiction horror which was for him at the time, a fairly conventional film. Throughout North America there exist people who are ‘scanners’. Scanners are able to read people’s minds and move objects through telekinesis. Weapons manufacturer ConSec are attempting to use scanners as weapons but rogue scanner Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) halts the programme by killing ComSec’s scanners and forming his own group who wish to rise up and stamp their authority on ‘normal’ people. ComSec uncover Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) and train him to take down Revok.
I thought Scanners was great fun. The movie has a pretty decent story behind it and I was engaged by the espionage and war that the plot created. The central idea is interesting and manages to sustain the plot for over 100 minutes. There are conspiracies and twists which add to the excitement and occasional action sequences which gives you more bang for your buck. In addition to this there are a couple of well written characters although the acting is frankly dreadful. Lead Stephen Lack is quite literally laughably awful. I can’t remember seeing a central performance which was so wooden and cringe worthy. No one really shines although Michael Ironside isn’t terrible and Robert Silverman is actually quite good. He was the acting highlight in a film full of poor performances.