Robert’s Review: Mind Leech (2023)

ATMOSfx! Woo!
Steff Ivory Conover & Mischa O’Hoski

⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Intensity: 🩸🩸🩸
What happens when you get a bunch of Canadian SFX folks together and let them loose in the snowy back-country of rural Canada? You get a giant mutant leech sucking onto people’s heads, that’s what!

Directed by Chris Cheeseman & Paul Krysinski

Damn you, Chem Corp! If it weren’t for you and your nefarious corporate ways, the people of this sleepy Canadian hamlet would be relaxing with their ice fishing and copious amounts of Beer Brand beer. But, no! You had to have your lackeys, “Asshole Polluter” [Chris Cheeseman himself] and his buddy “Idiot Polluter” [Hugh Goodden; SFX for Spiral (2021) among others], dump that toxic waste into the local pond.

Now, stalwart Deputy TJ Johnson [Steff Ivory Conover; TV’s 1 Queen 5 Queers (2021)] has to chase all over the county trying to stop a giant, mind controlling, mutant leech from killing everyone it meets! So much for a quiet holiday season in the frozen north.

The sheer volume of special effects talent in the group behind Mind Leech is pretty staggering. These are people who’ve worked special effects for Jigsaw (2017), Flatliners (2017), Fatman (2020), Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021), V/H/S/94 (2021), and so on. They know what they’re doing and it shows.

Paul Krysinski

As far as the rest of it goes, here’s what writer/director Cheeseman had to say:

Mind Leech in a word: Improvised. Both on and off camera. Everything was only planned as much as it had to be (for safety and insurance reasons), and the rest decided on the day. The plan was in constant flux, working around availability and the weather. There were no callsheets, script, or on set video monitoring. Actors wrote their own lines and developed their own characters. The plan was built around having a small team of talented and experienced people make it happen on the day. Despite the harsh Canadian winter shooting conditions, we had fun. The small size of the team gave everyone an opportunity to participate and bring their own innovation to the story. I hope the fun and humour we had on set translates to the screen and audiences.

As chaotic as that sounds, Mind Leech is much more cohesive than you’d expect. What it lacks in story — because there’s not a lot of that — it makes up for in fun characters, great scenery, and a goopy monster. You can tell the entire cast was having a blast putting this crazy project together.

The movie is chalk full of first time actors. My favorite performance coming from Mischa O’Hoski as Sheriff Benjamin Pailey. If there’s an Oscar for Best Actor Trying To Run Through The Woods While Being Mind-Controlled By A Mutant Leech, I’m sure O’Hoski’s on the shortlist.

Veronica Matthews

Coming in at about an hour runtime, watching Mind Leech is like watching the beer-fueled short film your favorite uncle put together with his pals over the weekend. It might not be the most amazing thing ever, but it’s hella fun to watch.

Grab some Beer Brand beer, all your friends who like to yell at the movie screen, and head over to MindLeech.com to give it a go!

Review by Robert Zilbauer.

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