Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Movie Appraisal: Psych: 9 (2010)

I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be a psychological horror movie. But it's just so blatant in the way it's trying to be psychological. It hits you over the head again-and-again as if to say, "Hey buddy, I am a Psychological Horror movie that is trying to be like other, better, psychological horror movies, and I want to be crazy and scary and..." And then it just keeps going on and on about nothing for some time, all the while you've stopped listening because you already know what the movie is going to say. It's insanely predicable from beginning to end, so much so that I have to believe that it was the intent of the filmmakers to make it that predictable, despite it taking all tension and horror out of the movie.

While the directing is decent, and some of the acting (especially from Michael Biehn and Cary Elwes) is arguably very good, the movie suffers from an insufferable main character who nobody in their right mind (literally) could ever relate to in the slightest way. This character ruins a great deal of the movie for me simply because she offers nothing to the narrative despite basically being the lynchpin of the narrative. Her entire character exists to redirect any and all suspicion from her character, but it is so badly done that very early on in the movie its apparent that she's the killer, she's making up people in her head, and she's pretty crazy in the head. I certainly sympathize with her plight, but I find that the writing of the character was... not great... not even a little bit great. If you're going to make a movie like this, don't make it predictable. Don't make it so that the main character is definitely the bad guy and it's apparent that the main character is the bad guy early on in the movie. Don't give me fake tension that somebody else close to her is the bad guy when it's apparent that she's the bad guy. Don't show me her doing crazy things like writing "Give me my baby." on a wall a hundred times and tell me that she's perfectly normal and not murdering women.

I know the movie kind of sort of leaves it a tiny bit up to your interpretation, but that's stupid, and anybody who believes that it wasn't her doing all of those awful things actually must be as crazy as she is. I simply found this movie annoying in a great deal of ways. Despite the decent directing, decent acting, and decent imagery, the movie never hits me as anything but bad. It's never scary. NEVER SCARY. There's never any tension, be it plot tension, character tension, or any other kind of tension. NEVER TENSE. There's no way to relate to the character we spend most of the film following around. MAIN CHARACTER DOESN'T WORK. And the backstory is presented in such a hamfisted and awkward way that I didn't care. Of course she's nuts. Of course she was raped as a child. Of course she was a patient at the same hospital she's doing records for. It was all so predictable and all so convenient. And of course she has selective amnesia. I mean, this is every cliche in the book of writing. It's ridiculous. I mean it. I can literally do nothing but make fun of the writing of this movie because it is simply so bad.

Psych: 9 could have been handled better in so many ways that it's actually upsetting that they mishandled it so badly. It could have been a story of a woman coming to terms with an old psychosis, but no, they had to add in that she was murdering women, imagining people, overtly going insane, and basically being a clear candidate for being locked away forever. The fact that Michael Biehn's detective character basically gives up on the case and never pursues her is literally baffling with just how crazy she is coming off. And at the end of the movie she gets her damn baby because that's how crappily written plots work out. The ending was just so standard and off-putting and boring. Hell, most of the film could be described like that but most standard psychological horror movies have some subtlety and are usually not overtly apparent in their plots points.

I watched this whole movie, but I didn't necessarily enjoy it. With all the good psychological horror templates to take from, they came up with this nonsense? And I can't blame the actors. They did a good job with what was there, and the director was very competent and although the movie is never scary, it does have some creepy vibes. It's the writing that really gets me down on this film.

Anyway, this is a psychological horror film to avoid. Also, what is it with the "9" at the end of titles, these days? You have this movie,  Session 9, District 9, 9, and on and on. I have no idea why the 9 had to be in any of those titles really, and it's alarming how prevalent the number 9 has become in movies. I'm definitely overreacting, but it was one of the first thoughts I had while watching the movie.

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