Stay For The Twist
Mind Games is an intriguing little Indie film – if you can look past some of the obvious flaws. Yes, this is a B-movie. Yes, some of the visual effects are a bit iffy and the film includes some expository-heavy dialogue at times. However, Mind Games is surprisingly engrossing and will keep you guessing until the very end.
The premise is simple enough and feels like a mash-up of Saw and Amazon’s series Homecoming. There are some obvious tropes here that have been seen a lot in this genre, but the interesting themes and a clever twist do help to set this one apart from some of the other Indie flicks out there.
At the center of this is army psychologist Tara, who’s kidnapped by a madman and held captive in his RV in the middle of nowhere. Why? Who is this man? How did he find her? And for what purpose? All we have to go on for now is one ominous bite of dialogue; “All in good time.”
This shadowy man is suitably cryptic about why she’s been chosen, and as the film progresses we slowly start to understand how this all slots together, thanks in part to Tara’s backstory.
Alongside Tara’s ordeal in the RV are a litany of flashbacks that pad out the run-time. Some of these are actually pretty good though, helping to flesh out Tara’s character and motivations. However, the film does overstay its welcome by about 15-20 minutes, and the flashback sequences sometimes take a bit too long to get to the point.
As an indie flick, this movie obviously doesn’t have the same grandiose visual effects budget or killer acting one may expect from the Hollywood elite. However, Jet Jandreau does a decent job carrying this movie as Tara. That’s to say nothing of workaholic Robert LaSardo who seems to show up in so many of these Indie flicks and continues to deliver a compelling performance.
One of the biggest gripes with this film though comes from the sound mixing. Early on, the music is completely overbearing and drowns out some of the dialogue. It’s a shame too because it does tend to iron itself out during the latter periods of the movie. Still, the opening 15 minutes or so are particularly rough around the edges.
Given the sheer number of Indies out there that fail to even tell a coherent and well-worked story though (hello COVID-21), Mind Games is definitely a diamond in the rough when it comes to its plot.
It’s not perfect, and the pacing is a little slow at times, but Mind Games clearly has larger ideas about mental health and psychology that work reasonably well across its 100 minute run-time. It may be a tad overlong and the basic premise a little predictable, but the ending is enough to reward you for sticking it out for the long-haul.
Verdict - 6/10