6.8/10
40,302
180 user 152 critic

Scanners (1981)

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
4,758 ( 539)

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Videodrome (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits
The Brood (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle
The Dead Zone (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt
Naked Lunch (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
Shivers (1975)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Rabid (1977)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver
eXistenZ (1999)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm
Crash (1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas
Spider (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
Re-Animator (1985)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

Director: Stuart Gordon
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Kim Obrist
... Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)
... Dr. Paul Ruth
... Braedon Keller
... Darryl Revok
... Benjamin Pierce (as Robert Silverman)
Larry Perkins ... Security One (as Lee Broker)
Mavor Moore ... Trevellyan
Adam Ludwig ... Arno Crostic
Murray Cruchley ... Programmer 1 (as Lee Murray)
Fred Doederlein ... Dieter Tautz
Géza Kovács ... Killer in Record Store (as Geza Kovacs)
Sonny Forbes ... Killer in Attic (as Sony Forbes)
Jérôme Tiberghien ... Killer in Attic (as Jerome Tiberghien)
Denis Lacroix ... Killer in Barn
Edit

Storyline

Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims. Doctor Paul Ruth finds a scanner that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause - to destroy the underground movement. Written by Paul Reynolds <pauljr@innotts.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

10 Seconds: The Pain Begins. 15 Seconds: You Can't Breathe. 20 Seconds: You Explode. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scanners  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 4,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,225,876
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

David Cronenberg once called this the most frustrating film he'd ever made. The film was rushed through production - filming had to begin without a finished script and end within roughly two months so the financing would qualify as a tax write-off, forcing Cronenberg to write and shoot at the same time. Cronenberg also cited difficulty with and antagonism between the leads, particularly Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O'Neill. See more »

Goofs

When Cameron "scans" the mainframe computer from the gas station telephone booth, the handset and its cord are clearly wrapped in layers of black plastic gaffer's tape. This is present throughout the entire scene and was likely done in an attempt to camouflage the special effects used in the violent destruction of the handset at the end of the sequence. See more »

Quotes

Cameron Vale: I'm one of you.
Benjamin Pierce: You're one of me?
[confused]
Benjamin Pierce: You're one of me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits scroll like words on the CONSEC computer monitor. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tales from the Mist: Inside 'The Fog' (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Another Cronenberg Classic Worth Seeing Repeatedly
5 March 2007 | by See all my reviews

After a renegade scanner named Revok (a mutant human with advanced mental powers) causes another man's head to explode, he is hunted by a second scanner hired by a semi-secret scientific organization. Meanwhile, other scanners are picked off one by one, and the hunter is left with great moral and existential questions -- where did he come from, what is his purpose and is there a right or wrong side in this human/mutant battle?

Director David Cronenberg can seemingly do no wrong. As I watch one film after another of his, I wait to find one that is the pock mark on the perfect career. Some of his films (such as "Rabid" or perhaps "Stereo") may be of less quality than others, but I have yet to find one that is outright bad. "Scanners", for the record, ranks among his best and has become a cultural staple.

You know you are a culturally important film when you are referenced by "Wayne's World". But seriously, this film is a science fiction story that -- like many science fiction stories -- holds some greater cultural and moral issues worth investigating.

The issue of racism is here. Like the recent "X-Men" movies, and many other films, the idea of someone who is different in a superficial way (scanners look like ordinary humans) and is rejected raises the point that we as a society need to accept those who are not like us. Racism stinks, whether it appear in its purest form (skin color) or through religion or other means. And that is what makes this film so clever: the main character is a hero, but yet he is the outcast -- in some ways we see him as being more human than those who would have him killed.

This also happens to be a film that focuses on one of Cronenberg's strong points: his love of science. Or perhaps science gone wrong, if you will. Does any other director really tackle this as effectively as Cronenberg? I don't think so. (Imagine what would happen if he started making a series of Philip K. Dick novels into films.)

I suppose I did not really get into the film itself so much, but the beauty of the film is that what you take away from it if you view it critically is so much more than the plot or effects or lighting. Yes, you have a great cast (isn't Michael Ironside creepy?) and a head explodes. Yes, you have gun fights and mind control. Even a little bit of romance (but only just a pinch, nothing like a Goldblum-Davis connection in this one).

If you cannot tell, I want you to see this movie. If you're the type of person I am, you'll find this movie so smooth and refreshing on your mental palette that the film ends before you've even realized it began -- the sign of a really great film (or a really short one, which this isn't). Give it a chance, you'll like it.


31 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 180 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial