johnlink ranks PSYCH:9 (2010)

This is a movie which I found on FearNet. Often times the movies found in this manner are horrendous, or funny-bad. I have found a gem or two (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, for example), but there is a certain amount of masochism which goes into picking a movie off of FearNet. However, this one had Cary Elwes, so I didn’t care if it was bad or not. SOME SPOILERS BELOW

I watched PSYCH:9 (2010) on 1.26.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

The first thirty minutes of this movie are actually quite good. The camera work in the opening exterior is a little shaky, but then we get an all time great opening credits sequence. I don’t say that lightly. The opening credits, with Rorschach Tests turning into gruesome images really set the town for a pshychologically disturbing movie. For the first 30 minutes, the movie holds up that standard.

Sara Foster plays a young woman who has gotten a job sorting and copying files at a recently closed down hospital. She has burn marks across her back and trust issues with her husband, both of which belie a troubled past. She quickly befriends Cary Elwes, who plays a doctor on the fifth floor, the psych ward.

The title sort of gives too much away here. As soon as we see Psych Ward room 9, with its disturbing restraints and tools, we know there is a connection between our lead and the room. The journey, then, is what that connection is. Meanwhile, a killer is out on the loose killing women which adds to every little noise heard in the hospital.

The first act really does a nice job setting the ambiance and working the audience. But things slowly devolve through the second act, and the third act isn’t strong enough to redeem PSYCH:9. I am always harping on films holding your hand too much and not giving the audience any credit. This film does not fall into that trap. However, in plowing through the different ghosts, and blood stains, and fallen women, etc, the ending doesn’t feel connected. While the killer is out there killing people, Sara Foster’s Roslyn is inside the hospital imagining things. The point, sure, is to blur the lines between reality and imagination. Perhaps with the theme being that once someone is as emotionally scarred as Roslyn is, it no longer matters what is reality and what is not.

This film is not afraid to launch into dark themes, including child molestation, child murder, forced abortion, and sexual confusion. It doesn’t handle these themes with the utmost care, often using them as ‘A-HA!’ moments rather than as sensitive subjects. But, again, perhaps that is the point.

I didn’t feel good at the end of this movie, some of which is attributed to what Roslyn has become, and some of which can be attributed to a sense of conusion about what exactly DID happen.  There is meant to be confusion, to be sure. But if the suggestion is that Roslyn did these horrible things, then the movie lies to us several times in terms of where she is and when. And if it is not her, then there is a supernatural aspect to the murders which feels less satisfactory.

Writing about this movie has made me feel better about its qualities, honestly. It does some things right, but is not very sharp.  This is director Andrew Shortell’s first feature, and some of the mess can be laid at his plate. However, he also deserves some credit for being ambitious. The look of the hospital is certainly creepy as hell, and there are some real jumpy moments which he orchestrates. The acting is average. Cary Elwes doesn’t stretch at all, Sara Foster is quite good in the lead, but her husband as played by Gabriel Mann is obnoxious. Michael Biehn is completely wasted. Not even sure why he took this role.

Not sure I’d ever venture to watch this again. The questions it left me with don’t make me want to dig back in (like, say, SHUTTER ISLAND does). Instead, I can just say that this was good enough to watch once. I’ll probably forget it by the end of the year.



Yep, I’m giving a bonus for the opening credits. They were that good.



~ by johnlink00 on January 27, 2012.

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