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The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that allow them to read minds and give them the ability to make other people's heads explode. The children of a group of women who took an experimental tranquilizer during their pregnancies, the scanners are now adults and have become outcasts from society. But Darryl (Michael Ironside) decides to create an army of scanners to take over the world. The only person who can stop him is his brother Cameron (Stephen Lack), who wants to forget that he was ever a scanner. Winner of the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Like Tod Browning, Cronenberg doesn't have the stylistic resources to match the forcefulness of his ideas, but his movies remain in the mind for the pull of their private obsessions."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Scanners is so lockstep that we are basically reduced to watching the special effects, which are good but curiously abstract, because we don't much care about the people they're happening around."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Cronenberg is so great at juxtaposing the surreal with the mundane to generate both creeps and (nervous) laughter."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Scanners, for the most part, is unable to distinguish itself from other similarly-themed horror thrillers..."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"A mind-blowing telekinesis thriller that immediately put Michael Ironside on the map as one of the most intense actors around."
‑ Chuck O'Leary,
"All this should give fans of David Cronenberg's previous pix their money's worth, although lack of any rooting interest vitiates any possible suspense and highly elegant visual style works against much shock value."
‑ , Variety
"The quality of the film's inventiveness is not always of the first order, which is too bad because Mr. Cronenberg does seem to be a director-writer of some style."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"The generous selection of bonus features includes vintage elements, like a trailer made up almost entirely of the exploding-head scene, a handful of radio spots, and a 1981 talk-show appearance in which Cronenberg discusses his work up to that point."
‑ Keith Phipps, The Dissolve
"Ironside is fantastic as the lethal Revok, helping make this a popular cult favorite."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"An early masterpiece by David Cronenberg."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Part conspiracy thriller, part political tract, it is Cronenberg's most coherent movie to date, drawing a dark (but bland) world in which corporate executives engineer human conception to produce ever more powerful mental samurai."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"an intriguing and (by Cronenberg's standards, at least) fun movie"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Scanners consolidates the ruling problematic of the Cronenberg project from the sex slugs of Shivers to the financial abstractions of Cosmopolis: what are the effects of signals on an organism?"
‑ Nathan Lee, Film Comment Magazine
"Excellent Cronenberg horror flick"
‑ Lori Hoffman, Atlantic City Weekly
"Cronenberg's obsession with making the human insides visible begins here."
‑ Jake Euker,
More reviews for Scanners on Rotten Tomatoes

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