“Wes Craven Presents: Mind Ripper”
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Morally ambiguous scientists working on reanimation experiments and trying to create a super soldier, become trapped in their remote desert outpost when their experiment goes wrong.
Originally intended to be the 3rd in The Hills Have Eyes series, the story has completely different characters and the movie itself has no real connection to the series except that it was co-written by Johnathan Craven and produced by Wes Craven.
The plot is pretty straight forward, if cliche: experimentation gone wrong due to an over ambitious and under ethical scientist, creating a monster who, in its quest for self-discovery/understanding, destroys nearly everything in its path. The father/son themes parallel and compliment the monster/creator themes and give the movie a little depth. The effects are decent (practical of course), the score is good, the cinematography is rather dark, even for a setting which is supposed to be tight and claustrophobic, and a few pacing issues. A lot of action, and a sufficient amount of blood make for an entertaining experience.
The cast is solid, featuring (one of my favorites) Lance Hendrickson, as Stockton, the scientist who tried to walk away and salvage his morals. Natasha Gregson Wagner, giving exactly the performance the audience has come to expect from her, as his daughter, Wendy. Giovanni Ribisi, offering a rather intense performance as Stockton’s son, Scott. Claire Stansfield (man, she has a killer smile), as the smart and sexy Joanne, who apparently always had a crush on Stockton. John Deihl, as Alex, the villainous, apparently greedy and amoral creator of our creature, Thor, Dan Blom, who gives the audience eye candy as well as a surprisingly intense performance.
Although this isn’t necessarily an outstanding sci fi/horror, it’s not a waste of time either. With the budget this film had, I think that they were a little over ambitious and under experienced. However, I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, when it first came out, and I still did today. Actually I was pleasantly surprised at how well it held up. I gave this 3 rum & cokes.