Psych:9 (2010) Review

Down on her luck and desperate for work Roslyn (Sara Foster) takes a job at a recently closed hospital collating patient records.
The job which is a seemingly never ending and monotonous task is made more interesting by the occasional appearance of Dr. Clement (Cary Elwes), who is happy to help Roslyn not only in her tiresome task but also to delve into some of the mysteries of her troubled upbringing.

When working alone at night the creepy, oppressive building begins to affect Roslyn and she starts to see and hear things which may or may not be there.

Nightmarish visions and unsettling events convince her there is a connection between her hospital and the spate of murders taking place pushing her fragile mind to the edge.

Is Roslyn right or is she losing her mind? Can Dr. Clement really help her?

The only way she can find out and uncover the truth is by confronting the ghosts of her past and the spectres of the present.

Creepy hospitals are a horror staple. From the morgue of Ole Bornedal’s Nattevagten and the remake Nightwatch to the mental hospitals in Gothika, the David Caruso vehicle Session 9 and the twisted psychosis of Hellbound: Hellraiser II all prove if you want to instantly induce fear set your movie in an old abandoned hospital.

Writer Lawrence Robinson and director Andrew Shortell know this fact and try to use there location to the fullest with plenty of arty shots, flickering security camera footage and eerie noises.

The fact that this is their first feature is immensely evident however and although tense and unsettling at times far too many moments miss the mark with the horror lost by bad pacing and amateurish editing.

Failing to strike fear into the audience the talented cast do succeed in impressing fronted by a powerhouse performance from Sara Foster who throws herself into the role whole heartedly. Better known for modelling and playing TV teens her transformation into a tortured horror heroine is surprising and convincing.

With jet black hair hanging down her gaunt face she carries most of the movie crafting a complex character whose journey through her abusive past and paranoid present is compelling to watch.

Foster is backed up by solid supporting actors who all deliver including Gabriel Mann (better from the Bourne movies and Cherry Falls) as her untrustworthy boyfriend and 80’s icon Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens) who plays the detective investigating the multiple murders.

Best of all is Saw star Cary Elwes as Dr. Clement finally using his real English accent and creating a creepy but caring character who pushes Roslyn to confront and unlock the multitude of suppressed and harrowing memories she harbours.

Although a let down as an all out horror Psych: 9 is an excellently acted psychological drama showcasing the cast’s skills rather than the writing and directing and proving Sara Foster as a talent to watch.

Read our Sara Foster interview here.

Movie Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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