Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Stephen Lack, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Charles Shamata. (1981, R, 102 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Thu., Dec. 21, 2000

Wanna see someone's head blow up and eyes pop out? Be certain of your answer before casting your gaze on Scanners, because otherwise it's liable to blow up in your face ­without warning. Toronto's king of the visceral horror tale, David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Fly, Naked Lunch) tells another of his mind-tripping stories designed to get underneath your skin and your psyche. Though the ideas in this movie are a good twist on the body-snatchers idea in which there exists among us an imperceptible breed of telepathic humans called scanners, and the good ones are called on to weed out the bad ones, who are bent on world domination,­ their execution leaves too many details too fuzzy. Still, this relatively early work from Cronenberg shows all his signature stylistics in full bloom.

More David Cronenberg Films
Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg's film, with a script by Bruce Wagner, is a darkly humorous moral fable aimed at Hollywood.

Josh Kupecki, Feb. 27, 2015

Even though it stars Robert Pattinson, we doubt his Twilight fans will fully appreciate this sleek, dystopian story that David Cronenberg adapted from Don DeLillo's 2003 novel.

Marc Savlov, Aug. 24, 2012

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Kevin Hart: What Now?
Comic plays to record crowd in Philadelphia

Oct. 21, 2016

La Leyenda del Chupacabras
Dark animated tale may be too frightening for children

Oct. 21, 2016


Scanners, David Cronenberg, Stephen Lack, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Charles Shamata

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