Sunday, 22 July 2012

Mindkiller (1987) Michael Krueger

Ah, supernatural nerd vengeance movies. I've a great yen for the genre, having been something of a fringe individual for much of my younger, especially school life, so I've been interested in seeing Mindkiller for about as long as I've known of it. Unfortunately having a vested interest in subject matter also tends to make one rather more perceptive of problems, so while overall I found this a fairly pleasant and if nothing else perfectly watchable slice of low wattage schlock, I also found pretty deep running problems that very much held it back. But firstly, the good stuff. Unlike surprisingly many films in the genre, Mindkiller has central characters that are actually nerdy, not jocks in nerd drag, not assholes or obvious bubbling nutjobs. Just awkward, needy library workers who would quite like to get laid but are held back by lack of social graces or good looks. And in a sitcom style set-up, get all excited when an attractive lady winds up employed to prop up their department. Now the approach to library workers is a cliched nonsense at least by todays standards (library workers these days tend to be mostly average ordinary women interspersed with a few average ordinary men, none with any notable physical or social shortcomings at all), but the characters and their doings are handled in brisk and likably breezy fashion, their chemistry works and there are some pretty amusing moments in a daft sort of fashion. Although the pace at which things actually happen in the film is fairly slow it bowls along nicely as well, and has some fun offbeat touches leading to a memorably effects driven finale. The general trouble with it all though is a feeling of vague mediocrity, mediocrity which settles after the final credits roll into dusty dissapointment and the realisation of what could have been. The film hints at imagination and a sense of real crazy verve but never fully accomplishes either because of the low budget. Not just this, but it's way too tame. Brief nudity, a few nice creature effect shots but no real gore and little tension, it's more than a little threadbare. And worse, not only does the film skimp on the potential of what a nerd could do with powers of telekinesis and telepathy to advance himself, it pretty much glosses over the ghastly implications of what he actually does do. Restraint is all well and good, but this kind of film needs to not be so dickless because such is a disservice to all potential viewers, and a moral murk that deserves far more interesting treatment. But still, I wasn't fully disappointment. As late 80's oddities go this certainly won't be setting any lives on fire, but as a time filler I thought it came across pretty well. Had I watched it say, 15 years ago or so, I probobly even would have thought it really pretty solid. Nowadays I can't say as this is really worth a look to anyone other than trash archaeologists, but for those out there it's certainly a good few notches better than a poke in the eye with a wet stick. Not worth any kind of vigorous searching out, but not dis-recommended either.

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