A sparky low-budget throwback that will really cling to the right audience.
Synopsis: A very persuasive leech is wreaking havoc in rural Provinstate, 1998. On a mission to expand its horizons, our influential invertebrate enlists the help of the local townsfolk. The Police are soon on the tail of our pesky parasite.
Mind Leech is a film comfortable in its own skin, content to pack fun special effects into a relatively short space of time without feeling the need to add unnecessary padding. It does, perhaps, take a beat too long in the introductory scene, but from there, rattles along at a solid pace.
In taking on a simple, maybe overly familiar idea, the film can instead focus on the fun it has to offer with much of this coming from the effects. Understandably so, given co-director and writer Chris Cheeseman’s experience on films like Jigsaw. Co-director Paul Krysinski also has a wealth of effects experience, which shows in handling the material. Not a single gooey snippet is missed and what self-respecting horror fan doesn’t enjoy the timeless combination of blood and snow?
Steff Ivory Conover makes for a hugely likeable presence as Deputy ‘TJ’ Johnson. In a film at just around the hour mark, you need performers with an immediate impact and she delivers that. With relatively little exposition and a fast pace, that charisma allows for an instant connection.
The film makes the most of its small-town setting, allowing the action to wander while retaining that sense of being somewhat contained. The small-scale setting interacts with the themes set around small-town life, adding meaning to what would otherwise be a purely practical decision that the filmmakers would have to attempt to hide. Keeping the narrative at a manageable scale is commendable and really works in its favour.
This is a low-budget production and at times, it shows. It is also unlikely to present any surprises for frequent horror viewers. Some of this is undoubtedly on purpose, seeking to echo retro monster movies, although it would be nice to have something more surprising to set it apart. This is, however, a very early step for the creators in a directing and writing capacity that gets the basics right, so that is likely to be built upon.
A simple idea, well-executed that will no doubt scratch an itch for those wanting a creature-feature with fun effects and a swift runtime.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Mind Leech is available to view at the MindLeech webpage.