Scanners (1981)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: February 14, 1981
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2001
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Critic Score: 80% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

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.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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.

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James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk

an intriguing and (by Cronenberg's standards, at least) fun movie

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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.

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

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.

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Christopher Long
Movie Metropolis

Cronenberg is so great at juxtaposing the surreal with the mundane to generate both creeps and (nervous) laughter.

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Derek Adams
Time Out

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.

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Fernando F. Croce

Cronenberg's deadpan techno-thriller lampoon

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Keith Phipps
The Dissolve

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.

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More reviews for Scanners

Flixster Audience Score: 64% Flixster User Reviews
Kevin M. Williams
Watching this I try to imagine Cronenberg's directing his lead actors: "I need you to look as if you're trying to blow somebody's head off… More
Chris Weber
In this sci-fi horror action film from David Cronenberg, the Scanners of the title refer to a group of humans who possess extraordinary and immensely powerful… More
Greg S
A scientist trains a young man with deadly psychic powers (a "scanner") to infiltrate a group of fellow telepaths bent on world domination. A… More
Coxxie Mild Sauce
The beginning of David Cronenberg's career makes the second half of Rob Zombie's career look like Quentin Tarantino's career.
Dan Schultz
A special-effects driven mixed bag of a movie about a group of special people called "scanners" who have the ability to read peoples minds, or if they… More
Aj V
Another great sci-fi horror movie from Cronenberg. The special effects are so cool, and the story is interesting. I love this movie.

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