Critics Consensus

Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.



Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 31,452
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Scanners Photos

Movie Info

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 International Fantasy Film Award at the 1983 Fantasporto Film Festival, Scanners was followed by a pair of sequels, neither of which involved Cronenberg. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Patrick McGoohan
as Dr. Paul Ruth
Adam Ludwig
as Crostic
Victor Désy
as Dr. Gatineau
Mavor Moore
as Trevellyan
Lee Broker
as Security One
Lee Murray
as Programmer 1
Geza Kovacs
as Killer in Record store
Sonny Forbes
as Killer in Attic
Jerome Tiberghien
as Killer in Attic
Denis Lacroix
as Killer in Barn
Louis Del Grande
as First Scanner
Anthony Sherwood
as Scanner in Attic
Ken Umland
as Scanner in Attic
Anne Anglin
as Scanner in Attic
Jack Messinger
as Scanner at Door
Victor Knight
as Dr. Frane
Terry Coady
as Security 1 Car Passenger
Steve Michaels
as Security 1 Car Driver
Malcolm Nelthorpe
as Security 2 Car Driver
Nicholas Kilbertus
as Security 2 Car Passenger
Robert Boyd
as Hallucinating Guard
Alex Stevens
as Programmer 3
Neil Affleck
as Medical Student in Hall
Fred Doederlein
as Dieter Tautz
Dean Hagopian
as Programmer 2
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News & Interviews for Scanners

Critic Reviews for Scanners

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (6)

  • Scanners, according to David Cronenberg's new film, are people who can control others with their thoughts...The idea has a certain cachet. But Scanners doesn't pay off on it.

    Apr 28, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 5, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 5, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Scanners

  • Jun 25, 2016
    Excellent story-line and I wished it should have more to it.
    Film C Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2016
    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 ... by only thinking about it." I try to imagine his actors processing that direction: "What exactly does THAT look like? What does this guy want?" All about big government conspiracy, and the rebellion against that, this is some big fun if you can get over the age of the work.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2016
    Gore abound and while an interesting concept it is very slow going!
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2015
    Maybe I judged this movie too soon.I saw Scanners on VHS at the local Goodwill Outlet store but really had no interest in watching it so I threw it back in the bin.Lately I've been seeing it on the free movie channel so I decided to give it a go &..... It turned out to be an OK movie.It's definitely interesting & something I'd tell whoever to go see at least once.The exploding head at the start of the movie, Wow.That was 1 of the grossest but coolest (I feel wrong for saying that) things I've seen in a Horror flick.The rest of Scanners was solid with alot of really nice special effects.The ending kinda fell off for me but I don't know why.I don't know if it caught me off guard or I just didn't get it.The eyeballs part was gross as well & if you watched this movie, You know what I mean.If not, You've been warned.I'm glad I watched Scanners but I'm not kicking myself for putting it back it in the bin
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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