Xplodera’s review published on Letterboxd:
How can a movie with exploding heads not fully manage to give you what you'd expect from it? Well, if possible - I'd gladly ask David Cronenberg, director of this 1981-movie about a special kind of people called ”scanners” that holds the power of telekinesis and therefore naturally is very sought for among weapon makers and mainly the company ConSec who uses the scanner Cameron Vale to attempt to get scanners to work for them.
The thing about this movie is that it's not a particularly bad movie, surely not a masterpiece - but it's not a disaster in any way. But my main problem with this movie is what Cronenberg wants it to be. It does work fairly well as a kind of sci-fi thriller - but with a leaning towards horror-ish with a couple of extreme splatter-scenes (which is completely awesome in all their campiness) - it feels like the movie is trying to be a bit too many things at the same time.
A problem is that after a spectacular and lovable head-explosion early on - the movie instantly tones down its blood and violence and it never really emerges again until the climax. And when the movie then tries to be a sci-fi-thriller - it drives of in another angle which results in the overall story to feel pretty scattered and unfocused. With very flat characters to add to that, it feels like Scanners has a bit too much focus on its surface and too little on anything deeper.
With all that said - Scanners do have good things to offer. Despite that the story does not really know what it wants to be, what is here is still pretty good. The core of the plot works good and does create some excitement throughout the runtime, especially when you've accepted the fact that this movie really not is a splatter-fest with exploding heads. Michael Ironside surely sticks out as a great and menacing villain in a gallery of otherwise mostly pretty forgettable characters. Visually the movie looks good, I liked the design of many things in it and the effects are practical - just like they should be.
In the end, Scanners might not be a superb movie and definetly not a superb horror movie - but even with its fragmented plot, it is undoubtedly an entertaining movie with enough highlights to be worth seeing.