Dir. Chris Cheeseman & Paul Krysinski (2023)
A mind-controlling leech is wreaking havoc on a small town, and the only thing standing between it and total domination are two plucky police officers.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I’ve said time and again that I’m a big fan of indie horror, and I love that filmmaking is so available nowadays to anyone who wants to pursue their passions. As camera quality gets better through technology and how-to’s are available online for practically every area of filmmaking, we’re past the age of people making movies that look as cheap as they actually are, and I’m all kinds of here for it. Mind Leech is a good example of these changes to the film industry, and it’s a film that would’ve been a terrible SOV monster movie twenty or thirty years ago. Instead, we get a movie with a fantastic production value that smartly limits the visibility of its monster and relies on some actually-pretty-decent acting to carry it through to watchability.
It’s still a cheap indie monster movie, though. The leech-in-question is rarely fully visible, spending most of the movie tucked inside an actor’s coat after attaching itself to his neck. Mind Leech feels a bit like the Sci-Fi Channel films that were seemingly always on in the 90’s. It’s cheesy but super fun, and super short as well, which makes it all the better. It’s only an hour long, and while that often feels wrong because it fits into the nether regions between a short and a feature, it actually works really well for this kind of indie movie. In fact, the hour runtime makes it even more of a candidate for the Sci-Fi films I grew up with, as it would fit around an hour-twenty to an hour and a half with some commercials jammed in.
All in all, it’s a decent effort from director’s Cheeseman and Krysinski, and it manages a pretty workable pace that prevents its audience from being bored. Believe it or not, even with a short runtime sometimes that’s a lot to ask from indie horror. You’re only going to get Blumhouse production values with Blumhouse money most of the time, and while the filmmakers here didn’t have access to that kind of money, they pulled out the absolute most they could with what they have. You can’t really ask for a whole lot more out of indie horror, especially indie horror with an icky bloodsucker as the monster. With enough laughs to keep you in your seat and a few excellent scenes of mayhem, it's well worth a watch for those looking for a late night creature feature
Who this movie is for: Indie horror fans, Monster movie lovers, Old-timey surgeons
Bottom line: The production values are the star of the show here, as directors Cheeseman and Krysinski have made a film that they really shouldn’t have been able to make on the shoestring budget they had at their disposal. Today’s technology makes these things possible, and while you won’t find yourself cringing in fear during the film, you also more than likely won’t be cringing at the bad filmmaking endemic to most indie horror flicks. You could do a lot worse than Mind Leech, and it’s well worth a watch if you have an hour to spare