Mind Leech (2023) Film Review
The business card of a film like Mind Leech is a very loud reminder of how it was made. “It will remind you of Roger Corman”, or “this looks like a Lloyd Kaufman joint”. It’s supposed to work like this. Such presentations are allowed in indie cinema. What’s very curious about the final result is it was unexpectedly a very well-made film that to me, is miles away from being similar to a Corman film. Sure, the humor is there to remind you that this is a horror comedy from its conception, but the film isn’t laughable. It’s an admirable mission that’s accomplished out of love and passion.
Paul Krysinski and Chris Cheeseman are behind the surprising film. Their resources are strictly limited. No scripts or familiar faces. No huge special effects. Just an editing style that seems appropriate and is highly effective. They deserve an applause, more budget, and bigger opportunities. Why? They could make a ridiculous film with Mind Leech. It’s the easy way out of the conversation of indie cinema making heads turn. But they don’t. They work with that they have, and post produce the hell out of a cool film we wish we could have made with our friends.
The story is simple. It tells the story of a parasite that has the capacity of attaching itself to human hosts and making them killing machines with zombie behavior and funny physicality. There’s not much more to the story that’s focused on law enforcement trying to solve what’s essentially an absurd situation.
How to keep things interesting? Well, it’s a matter of knowing your limits and recognizing them. Mind Leech is funny and lovely when it has to be. But it’s also sharply violent when making the statement about the other kind of film it actually is. Sequences aren’t dreadfully long and running time is barely over 60 minutes, so this also works as a short film about a subject we’ve seen before, but never executed by two guys who definitely love film. Even in its resolution, the film doesn’t extend itself to risky territory. It’s solved in a quick, creepy manner that feels like nothing but a correct decision.
No big special effects, but practical effects that are never proportional to the film’s budget. Sometimes it actually looks much better than what it’s supposed to be, and there’s no big secret to how they make it. They want their film to look and feel better than what you’ll get. Performances aren’t flashy or unreasonably funny. The story is limited to a few characters trying to make sense of a parasitic entity that turns friends into violent enemies. Both directors never make things more difficult than what they already from a production point of view.
This isn’t a perfect film. Nor it is one you will remember forever. But the effort is loud and clear and sometimes it’s just about that. And well, horror is just a functional medium addressed to the most faithful fan community ever thought of.