A quirky zero-budget Canadian horror flick about an irradiated brain-sucker that can't quite decide if it wants to go for straight comedy or gory scares.
You’re either the sort of person who’s into schlocky horror or you’re not. I ate this stuff up from an early age — probably too early — and my appetite has not waned. Somehow, the lower the production values the purer these kinds of movies seem.
“Mind Leech” certainly falls into this category. It’s about an irradiated invertebrate that jumps out of a Canadian pond and starts sucking brains. The victims are controlled by the leech and start murdering their friends and neighbors while staggering around in a gibbering zombie-like state.
Directed by Chris Cheeseman with Paul Krysinski as co-director, it’s boasted to be a largely improvised affair with basically the entire cast credited as screenwriters. The result is a very raw, organic flick that doesn’t put on a lot of airs and doesn’t pretend to more other than what it is: guilty pleasure fodder.
The setup is that the evil ChemCorp has been dumping toxic waste into the waterways around rural Provinstate circa winter 1998. A little leech gets blown up by the chemicals to the size of a python. When two nimrod buddies go ice-fishing, it leaps up out of the water and attaches itself to the brain of Craig (Paul Krysinski), who immediately sets about messily murderizing his pal.
Local Sheriff Benjamin Pailey Jr. (Mischa O’Hoski), a lifer who inherited the job from his dad, responds to the scene along with Deputy Terrika “TJ” Johnson (Steff Ivory Conover), who was a cop in the big city but gave it up for the quiet country life. Little did she knew she’d soon be battling frontal-lobe-attaching water worms.
Things go quickly from Fargo-like “what’s going on here?” investigation to all-out blood bath. The leech detaches and attaches itself to various people as circumstances warrant. For some reason, the sucker-directed victims try to hide their leech overlord by covering him up with their coats and hoods — probably because the leech looks like a rubber snake somebody bought at the dollar store.
Some of the gore effects are impressive, though, with various slashings, shootings, disembowelments and axings for your viewing pleasure.
It’s not super-scary stuff, more in the ironic funny-horror mode. If anything, I kept wanting the movie to lean more in this direction. Conover is a hoot as TJ, who has a strange mincing gait like she’s never walked in snow before, but is probably the most competent law enforcement officer of the bunch. She’s got oodles of screen charm.
If you’re looking for a cheap, exploitative good time, you could do worse.
“Mind Leech” is available for online rental now.