DIRECTOR: Alistair Legrand
Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Dr. Jane Mathis is a psychiatrist who specializes in trauma. She has her own special methods and ways of trying to help her patients. When a young teenage girl who she is trying to treat ends up violently attacking her and almost committing suicide, Jane decides to go into therapy and try and get her life back on track. She swears she'll never treat another trauma patient until one ends up calling her out of the blue. She decides to try and help this new patient who has his own horrific past.
Going into a 'Netflix Original' film, it still hasn't grown old for me yet. I still get very excited when I heard that Netflix has produced a new genre film. The two films that I had seen so far, Mercy and I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House have been pretty interesting. Both earned a six out of ten in my previous reviews. Even movies that I've watched such as Beasts Of No Nation knocked it out of the park. So going into Clinical, I was actually pretty excited.
The opening scene of Clinical immediately had me hooked. The movie opens with a brutal little scene involving our psychiatrist and her young patient. After a violent and nasty attack involving a shard of glass, we see this tormented young patient slit her throat. The results are bloody and it sets the tone for the rest of this movie. This is a film that from the very first moments, it has this sense of deep depression and dread throughout the film. It's a movie that has no real levity.
Over the next hour, the film introduces us to Dr. Jane Mathis and her latest patient, Alex. She is trying to piece her life together after a violent attack, we see that she is also in therapy and she is addicted to medication that helps her sleep. Her patient is a man who is suffering after being horribly disfigured in a car crash. This is where the film starts to build on its mystery. We spend quite a lot of time with these two who are trying to remember the night of the accident. The mystery is finding out where this patient's trauma stems from. I found myself really enjoying their dynamic and the way they were helping each other heal.
Once we discover what has caused his trauma, we get the one moment in the film that had our two characters connecting more than ever. This felt like a breakthrough in the film. I was still pretty involved in the story. I found myself really caring for both of the characters. It's not long after the reveal of the trauma where everything finally clicked for me. I had this lightbulb moment. It was at this point with roughly forty minutes to go that I sort of started to lose interest as I kept thinking about this one little scene where everything came together for me and I still had a while to go and had pretty much guessed what eventually would be the twist in the film.
Where Clinical continued its decline for me came at an hour and fifteen minutes. We have this reveal that completely switches things up in the story. It's a psychological twist that throws out the age-old twist where our main character is now accused and insane. Cue the flashback scenes that show what actually happened. It sort of falls apart at this point. This isn't even the twist that I had guessed was coming because Clinical doesn't have one reveal in store for the audience but two and the second one is the connection of both patients that I had seen coming from a mile away. Once it happens, it all becomes predictable and formulaic. The final twist and connection may disturb some people.
During it's running time. Clinical also has this subplot that involves sleep paralysis. We get two scenes of our psychiatrist being in this state but nothing ever comes of it. Early on, a lot of the creepier scenes in the movie made it almost appear that things were going to go in a supernatural direction and while it doesn't, I thought the sleep paralysis and few early scenes of our main character seeing her former patient would connect on a supernatural level. We also have a subplot involving Vinessa Shaw and Aaron Stanford as a budding romance that also goes nowhere. The best thing about seeing these two together is that it felt like a Hills Have Eyes reunion.
The acting is solid in this film. I've been watching Vinessa Shaw ever since Hocus Pocus. She was a part of my childhood and I love seeing her acting. She is very underrated. Aaron Stanford is in this film for all of five minutes if you add all his scenes up. It's nice seeing him playing a hardened police officer. Kevin Rahm who is unrecognizable in this role is the standout. Under all that horrible makeup, I still felt for his character early on and that's a testament to his acting. India Eisley as our young female patient is also great. She is also incredibly creepy in a few scenes. I felt for her character.
Lastly, Clinical is pretty creepy. We have a couple of set pieces that had my skin crawling. I've discovered that those scenes that reveal an open door and we see a person standing outside that suddenly charges at you and into the house to chase you is extremely unnerving. First, The Wailing and now Clinical. The two scariest scenes in both films. I think I actually found myself creeped out on more than one occasion in Clinical which is rare these days. For that, I think it deserves a point.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A teenage girl cuts her hand open with glass.
- A teenage girl slices her own throat with glass.
- A woman is attacked and slashed with glass.
- A bloody car crash.
- A bed is soaked in blood.
- A young girl is killed in a car crash.
- A man is shown dead and bloodied in bed.
- Someone's face is ripped off.
- Someone is stabbed in the neck.
- Someone is stabbed in the temple with a corkscrew.
- A woman is strangled.
- A teenage girl scratches her wrists till they bleed.
- A man is horribly disfigured after a car accident.
- A woman's face is sliced open with a scalpel.
Clinical is a movie that has me torn. For the first hour of the film, I was completely hooked. I was really enjoying the dynamic of the characters and this bond that had formed. The movie is also well acted and has a few very creepy scenes with some solid bloodletting. Once I guessed one of the two twists with forty minutes to go, the film sort of fell apart for me. The movie becomes formulaic and predictable and we have a couple of supporting characters and subplots which sadly don't get enough screentime. It's worth a watch but I think the second half will either make or break the film for people.