Brian DePalma followed up his 1976 smash horror hit “Carrie” with this odd, slightly uneven retread of familiar subject matter. John Farris’s screenplay, adapted from his own novel, tells a couple of parallel stories which eventually converge. As the film opens, Kirk Douglas stars as Peter, a government spook who was supposed to be assassinated in the Middle East in 1977. He has a son named Robin who is spirited away to a “special school” by Peter’s double-crossing handler (John Cassavetes). Turns out, Robin has a form of telekinesis – he can move things with his mind. Peter fakes his death and pops up in Chicago a year later, hiding from the men who betrayed him, searching for his son in the process. This leads to a female student named Gillian (Amy Irving) who shares Robin’s ability – except she can also read minds. These twin abilities cause a bleed-out from anyone she comes across. I enjoyed Cassavetes as the creepy G-man in league with the special school’s principal (Charles Durning), and especially liked Irving as the young girl – a fitting bit of karma following her role in “Carrie,” perhaps. An odd mixture of science fiction, horror and slight camp, DePalma sure nows how to put on a good special effects extravaganza – even if it pales in comparison to its predecessor.

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