Mindwarp is a 1992 science fiction movie about people living in virtual realities after the apocalypse destroyed the surface.
Judy is a resident of Inworld, an underground paradise for the last remaining survivors of Earth. The people of Inworld live their lives inside virtual realities of their own creation, and only leave to fulfill their bodily functions. Judy lives with her mother, who is completely content to spend her days living inside Infini Synth, but Judy longs for a more visceral existence. After demanding to see the real world, Judy is captured by Inworld's police, knocked out, and taken away.
She awakes to a cold, barren world, in what appears to be a make-shift graveyard. After exploring the desert, she falls victim to a sinkhole, and matters turn worse when she is captured by some local cannibalistic mutants. Fortunately, Stover (Bruce Campbell) arrives on the scene and rescues her. Stover takes Judy home to his shack in the wilderness, where Judy is initially reluctant to learn the ways of surviving the wasteland. She warms up to the idea after time, but just as she is starting to get adjusted to the outside world, the crazy cannibals break into their home and drag them underground once more.
Stover and Judy are separated and put to work. Meanwhile, they each learn more about the underground mutant society, but they both plot ways to escape back to the surface. They learn that the mutants may not be as brainless as they originally thought, and they are led by a mysterious, eloquent leader. The mutants may be brutal and bloody, but they may be the last vestige of civilization left on the planet outside of Inworld. The leader offers Judy a chance to join his civilization, and gives her the choice to help him rebuild society. From his point of view, his methods are the only way to bring humanity back to its former glory. It is up to Judy whether she should join the leader in his machinations, or chance an escape with Stover and hope to return to her home in Inworld.
This film contains examples of the following tropes:
- All Just a Dream: It turns out Judy never actually left Inworld, and the System Op simply gave her a vision of a potential reality. It was simultaneous a way to teach her a lesson about the dangers of wanting to leave Inworld, and a test of her character, to see if she was worthy of being a replacement System Op.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Crawlers.
- Eye Scream: As part of the death ritual, the leader of the Crawlers gouges out the eyes of his victim before murdering them. Apparently this will help him and the mutants become "dreamers" in the next life (residents of Inworld).
- I Am A Humanitarian: The Crawlers, of course. Even the heroes are eventually forced into eating the remains of others.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The leader of the Crawlers turns out to be Judy's father.
- He also turns out to be the System Op in The Reveal at the end.
- Mutants: The Crawlers are a cannibalistic variety.
- Scavenger World: The leader of the Crawlers has them mining in tunnels to extract useful artifacts and materials from the previous civilization.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The leader of the Crawlers may indulge his society in bloody rituals, but he is also assisting them in learning to use old technology to rebuild the world.