David Cronenberg is not known for launching franchises. He’s known for crafting intense psychological horror films that deal with trauma inflicted from within the body. Cronenberg is a master craftsman and one of the most prestigious filmmakers currently living.
His 1981 instant cult classic is one of the finest horror films of the decade. It’s a searing indictment of corporate greed, governmental manipulation and the horrors that are endemic to the human condition. Everyone knows about ‘that one scene’ in Scanners. It’s infamous now. It’s arguable more famous than the actual film at this point.
What most people don’t know is that Scanners launched a franchise. Yes, a full fledged franchise. Scanners begot two direct sequels, Scanners 2: The New Order and Scanners 3: The Takeover. It also spawned a spinoff franchise titled Scanner Cop which had two films in it. Scanner Cop and Scanner Cop 2: The Showdown aka Scanners: The Showdown.
Scanners is one of the most iconic and influential sci-fi horror films of the 80’s is been imitated and spoofed countless times. The task of creating a sequel to the film nearly ten years after it was released sounds like a daunting prospect. Regardless, writer B.J. Nelson and director Christian Duguay attempted to make a sequel to the film that nobody wanted a sequel from.
Scanners 2 follows David Kellum, a young prospective veterinarian who moves to an unnamed big city in order to further his education. While there he meets Alice, another veterinarian student. The become friends and fall in love. During a trip to the local connivence store to pick up some milk, David and Alice are caught in the middle of a robbery. Up until this point David has been experiencing strange head aches and complaining that it’s difficult for him to focus. During this altercation David manifests extreme psychic powers. He causes one of the assailants head’s to literally explode.
Afterward David is approached by a shadowy government agent named Forrester. Forrester introduces David to the world of Scanners, individuals who have gained the ability to psychically manipulate those around them with their minds.
Forrester wants to use Scanners to usher in a New World Order. One where crime is nearly non-existant and punishment would be absolute.
Scanners 2 succeeds on numerous fronts. It crafts a compelling story that not only embellishes but also elaborates upon the mythos established in the first film, but also has many unique and interesting characters that reside within it.
Usually, the expectation with sequels is that you’ll have a little more than half the budget for the film. If that was the case with Scanners 2, you can’t tell. The cinematography, while blatantly 90’s, is still very well executed. The tone of the movie is pretty much on point, and, of course, the visual effects are quite wonderful.
As opposed to Cronenberg’s film, in Scanners two the visual effects are almost utilized in a creature feature way. They’re restrictively placed throughout the film but when they do show it it’s like the shark in Jaws. It’s all or nothing.
It’s difficult to say that Scanners 2 get’s a bad wrap, because it doesn’t really get a wrap at all. Most people don’t even really acknowledge that it exists. That’s really just a damn shame. Scanners 2 is one of the few sequels to highly acclaimed, much beloved films that doesn’t actually suck. It’s not Godfather two, but it’s not Halloween 3 either. The film is a great non-Cronenberg Scanners film. The other four films in the franchise? Not so much.
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Tagged: scanner cop, scanner cop 2, scanner cop 2 the showdwon, scanners, scanners 2, scanners 2 the new order, scanners 3, scanners 3 the takedown
Posted in: Cult Movies, Featured (Film), Film, Film Reviews, Horror Films, Sci-Fi Movies