Scanners II – The Next Generation
Original title: Scanners II – The New Order
Directed by: Christian Duguay
Screenplay: BJ Nelson
Actors: David Hewlett, Deborah Raffin, Yvan Ponton
Publisher: BQHL Editions
DVD/BR release date: November 24, 2022
The Scanners are men endowed with supernatural powers: not only do they manage to dominate machines, but they also have the ability to read minds. In this case the pain is so intolerable that the brains of their “prey” implode. Drak is a Scanner who possesses these supernatural gifts. One day in the video game room, while Drak is playing, the machines explode… As soon as he is arrested, he is taken to the laboratory of Doctor Morse, who wants to use him to overthrow the American government…
Very clever who could have predicted the turn that Christian Duguay’s filmography would take twenty years after his debut as a director. If fans of genre films fondly remember his first films, placed under the sign of horror and action (Scanners II and III, howling planet, contract on a terrorist, The art of War…), the Canadian director then left the small world of the supercharged B series to concentrate, since Jappeloup in 2013, in the big family show.
Thanks therefore be given to BQHL Editionswhich invites us today to rediscover Christian Duguay’s first steps as a filmmaker with Scanners II: The Next Generation. Despite the international success of David Cronenberg’s film in 1981, it took ten years for a sequel to appear on our screens – the small screen as far as France is concerned, moreover, since Christian Duguay’s film had not at the time benefited from a release in dark rooms.
Far removed from Cronenberg’s film, with whom he ultimately had little connection, Scanners II: The Next Generation still worth a look. The film actually starts out rather promisingly, with an introductory sequence following a Scanner named Drak (Raoul Trujillo) in an arcade. Disoriented by voices only he can hear, he will eventually unleash a massive firefight and widespread panic. We finally find the character in an abandoned warehouse where he has strange “conversations” with a group of department store models he has gathered for who knows what purpose.
In short, in the space of a few minutes, Scanners II: The Next Generation manages to cultivate a certain oddity that is sure to pique the viewer’s interest. The rest of the plot will introduce the characters of Dr. Morse (Tom Butler), a scientist running a neurological institute who has created an “army” of Scanners addicted to a drug that calms their anxiety attacks. Holding the telepaths firmly under his thumb, Morse collaborates with John Forrester (Yvan Ponton), a policeman convinced that the Scanners’ innate abilities could be an effective tool for the police.
The weak point of Scanners II: The Next Generation undoubtedly resides however in the choice of its hero, David (David Hewlett), a veterinary student so archetypal that he will struggle a little to convince the viewer beyond one or two sequences intended to show us that he is a “nice” Scanner. Screenwriter BJ Nelson then decides to create a mysterious telepathic link between David and Julie Vale (Deborah Raffin), who is likely the daughter of Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) in the original film. David Kellum will therefore leave his student cast-off to begin developing his skills as a Scanner with the aim of doing good. In short, all this is full of clichés, but some situations manage to hold our attention.
However, we should not expect a sequel renewing and deepening the themes of the first film: Scanners II: The Next Generation is primarily a tight-budget action/fantasy B-movie, and the film’s art team will never really prove able to push past its budget issues. The sets are poor, the art direction weak, the photography dull, and the whole thing clearly lacks the hint of creativity that had allowed David Cronenberg to pull out of the game ten years earlier. However, Christian Duguay’s film retains enough atmosphere to keep the viewer’s interest awake until the end, thanks in particular to those famous exploding heads that made the success of the first film. The special effects are also quite effective and are probably the best reason to see the film!
Well-established in terms of encoding on High-Definition support, offering with great regularity genre films eagerly awaited by cinephiles, BQHL Editions offer to Scanners II: The Next Generation solid HD processing, especially for such an underrated film. The restoration has generally cleared up stains and other imperfections of the master, the definition is satisfactory, the colors are natural and the copy, unfortunately offered in 1080i (25 frames per second), is perfectly stable. The whole naturally also displays a scrupulously preserved silver grain: it is therefore very beautiful technical work. On the sound side, the mixing LPCM Audio 2.0, offered in both French and English versions, plays the card of the atmosphere and always offers perfectly clear and balanced dialogues. No supplements!
Blu-ray Review: Scanners II – The Next Generation – Film Review