Winter Ave Zoli
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2nd Sep 10
St. John's Hospital has all but closed down however that hasn't stopped a murderer from using it as the basis for thumping a hammer into young lady's skulls. Roslyn has taken a night job there and begins to suspect pretty much everyone of being the killer.
To describe Psych:9 as a muddle would be to do it an injustice. It's all over the place and first-time director Andrew Shortell appears unable to wrap things up neatly when it's already blatantly obvious what's going on and who the killer of the piece is. This is a crying shame as things kick off to a great start with a wonderful opening sequence with faces and a hammer all appearing as blot test pictures and a really atmospheric and spooky first half-hour.
The rather blank Sara Foster stars as Roslyn whose friend has helped get her a night job sorting out files at a closed/closing down hospital. She's rather crap at her job taking instead to smoking a lot, seeing people that aren't there and gabbling with Cary Elwes' shrink about her past. Sod the filing this baby has issues to sort out.
Back home taxi driver hubby Cole (Gabrielle Mann) wants a baby and this is causing tension between them. Roslyn evidently does too as she has a habit of scrawling the words 'I Want A Baby' over any blank surface that takes her fancy. If that wasn't bad enough the hospital she works at happens to be the central point to a string of murders that are taking place courtesy of the claw hammer-wielding Nighthawk.
Rather uniquely for a horror flick about a murderer at large very little is seen in the killing department and instead the plot focuses on Roslyn's very troubled childhood and her recounting of this to co-worker and shrink Dr. Clement (Cary Elwes). In fact it's all so heavy-handed that all the red herrings as to the identity of the killer become redundant but even that seems to be hard work for the director as he tries desperately to muddle things up to keep us guessing and consequently just ends up with a disappointing muddle.
Psych:9 is frustrating and protracted and rather insulting to a general audience. This is one of those movies where it's not enough to have flashbacks to let us know that Roslyn got badly burned previously. Shortell has her wear tops with a low cut so that we are constantly reminded of this fact as we can see the scarring. Most people with such markings tend to dress to cover them up not exhibit them for all the world to see and comment on. It's stupid and insulting to have us spoon-fed and hand-led to this degree.
Michael Biehn, as Detective Marling, pops by every now and again to check in on Roslyn and ask questions but - come on - given that the murders are centred on the hospital and that it's high profile enough to be covered by the media why the hell isn't there any police protection or at least a squad car lurking around outside.
So given what a mess Psych:9 ends up being; why an average rating, rather than a poor one? Well, for starters the first half hour sets up the mood terrifically and everything feels like we are in for a treat. It's a shame the quality of writing and direction weren't up to delivering on such initial promise. And secondly the relationship between Roslyn and Cole feels real despite Foster's inherent blankness and gives the film more of an anchor than you would otherwise expect. Overall though this is a rambling mess of a flick that needed more directorial control and in more experienced hands could have delivered as it stands Psych:9 is as subtle as a claw hammer to the back of the head.
Extras It feels like we have gone back a decade in terms of what the extras are offering us here. We get thirty odd minutes of out-takes - who the crap wants these any more? They add nothing to the disc and are only of interest to the cast and crew the same way showing holiday videos to others generally is. The deleted scenes equal the same running time and whilst of some interest what good are they without the director telling us why they didn't end up as such in the final cut so it ends up redundant.
We then get the rather bizarrely named 'Who is Andrew Shortell?' which tells us nothing about our debuting director apart from he enjoys a full English breakfast and plays golf in his spare time. What this REALLY is is a behind-the-scenes type thing. It is watchable but again tells you nothing about the film's genesis and shows that the director appears to be an affable fellow. Oh yeah, and then as standard there's the trailer - rather cheap it is too.
8th Jun 04 The film opens with a very similar voiceover narration to the original (see Trivia) but with different footage as we tour the furnace room, all fingernail scratches and blood-clotted hair, of the Hewitt residence.