How do you put David Cronenberg's early work into words? You could say that it's a combination of psychological duress and sci-fi horror; but it's much more uncomfortable than that. Scanners is a prime example of Cronenberg-creativity. He creates a world totally different than the one in which we live, yet everything seems vaguely similar, as though it exists on another plain.
In 1981, there were 4 billion people in the world, 237 of which were scanners, exceptionally rare mutants with the gift of mind control and perceptual alteration. There are powers are ambiguous and unexplained, which makes the movie a surprise throughout. In an attempt to unite the scanners against the human race, Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) has taken over a distribution company which supplies a chemical that hinders the abilities of the scanners. To stop him, the company Consec elicits the help of an exceptionally powerful scanner named Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack). With his counterpart Kim Obrist (Jennifer O'Neill), Vale attempts to stop Revok from his plans of world domination. Along the way, Cronenberg provides action (the famous head-exploding scene), intrigue, and mystery as Vale discovers that he and Revok are not so unalike.
My favorite part of Scanners is that David Cronenberg doesn't sacrifice the story for a happy ending. Things don't turn out very well for anyone and the audience is left with a sense of gripping reality; life isn't a happy ending, even in a world of science fiction. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can appreciate creativity.