Chris Cheeseman, Paul Krysinski
"I know it's weird, trust me, I just lived it." That line of dialogue late in the film stuck out to me, and I knew it would be the perfect way to express how I felt after having watched "Mind Leech" for myself. Oh, those small towns out there can get into big trouble sometimes, can't they? "Mind Leech" dives deep below the surface of that concept to create some chilling horror that's colder than the outdoor scenes you'll see here. It's on the shorter side of movies at just under an hour, but in my opinion, it delivered quite a lot of bang for the buck. You're looking at one of those creature-based movies overall, but one with a storyline that makes some logical – and ecological sense. Isn't that the best way to create real Horror/Sci-Fi? To me, it is – the closer something can make sense to our mind and seem possible, the more "real" something becomes, wouldn't you say? As far-fetched as "Mind Leech" is, and is intended to be, believe it or not, this movie's plotline isn't that far out of the ballpark of a potential future we could be in for from some manufactured disaster. Hopefully, it doesn't go to the extremes you'll see onscreen, but I'm not ruling it out just yet.
Smart filming shots, like when we meet the cops for the first time, all bent over and hunched into the camera by the side of the road, are excellent. I dig how we also get the camcorder footage, eventually, which gives it that more personal touch and helps us feel like we're right there with them in this strange film. The underwater shots are good, and the scenes with the ice fishing were a stellar way to get this plotline officially moving after the setup we'd seen to get there. Epic shots during the outside scenes of "Mind Leech" can also be found throughout its length, from frozen landscapes to capturing the still eeriness of the ol' small town that's so regularly the real victim in the horror film genre. I also liked watching the found footage towards the end, and when visual effects were used, it wasn't like they were trying to hide them. While there's definitely a bend in the story arc as it plays, which we'll get to in a minute here, the acting stayed consistent throughout the film, and the direction was also good.
Clearly, there's a point in this movie that will separate those that really like what that next part will be from everyone that was… let's say, 'hanging on' up to that moment. I'll fully admit that "Mind Leech" quickly became something altogether different with the introduction to its titular species, and it wasn't at all how I felt like I was expecting it to go. Does it become over the top? To a degree, there's no doubt about it, as every scene pretty much past the pivotal plot twist in "Mind Leech" has to play off the carnage and chaos of the setup to this film - at least a little to deliver the payload. What was actually really surprising to me was that I never felt like the watchability of this movie ever suffered. Trust me when I tell ya, a lot of films go so far over the top that they lose that critical element of being able to retain their audience after making a big move as this movie does. I was seriously stoked that I didn't feel that kind of wear and tear in watching this film. As a result of seeing a few different perspectives - and transitioning through a couple of storylines as we watch it all unfold, you're not really spending all your time with the creature in a creature film, know what I mean? So if you are one of those folks that aren't as "into" that kind of a film, hang on because you might be surprised by how much you'll wanna stick with it - and how the characters tend to drive this plot more than the creature.
What I really loved, beyond all things, was that "Mind Leech" never once felt hurried; you'll find all kinds of scenes from dialogue to nature shots to driving out on the open road that a lot of directors would have been tempted to cut down, especially if you're intending on finishing with a product that's just an hour long. Rather than axe out important ways of establishing tone and atmosphere, directors Chris Cheeseman and Paul Krysinski made the right call by letting their movie breathe and find its way.
Ultimately they put us in a genuinely interesting box as viewers. It's not so over the top that we can't take it seriously, yet I never really felt like they wanted the fun sucked out of the film, either. I suppose that makes it a movie that you can watch from a variety of angles, much like it's shown to us. I never thought that "Mind Leech" was ever going for direct laughs, though you might very well chuckle during a moment or two…As I said, it's a lot of fun. Whatever you want to call a mix like this, it worked for me – "Mind Leech" was well worth watching, and I didn't feel like there was anything left out of the film. This is a real indication of "smart" filmmaking at the end of the day. Cheeseman and Krysinski made sure not to overshoot their ambitions, kept the storyline, ideas, and ways to present the concept tight to the margins, and came out with a surprising win. I'm giving this movie a solid three and a half stars. For a "Mind Leech," it really doesn't suck at all.