Lionsgate // 2010 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Ike Oden (Retired) // February 25th, 2011
A psychological thriller set in a creepy hospital? How novel.
Rosanna (Sara Foster, The Big Bounce) has taken a night-shift job at an abandoned hospital. Of course, the position comes at something of a risk: it is positioned in the dead center of a serial killer's hunting ground. As she continues her work, she finds more and more evidence pointing to the identity of the killer and a past she wants to forget. With the help of a suspiciously kind psychiatrist (Cary Elwes, Saw) working on the psychiatric floor of the hospital, Sara will discover the secret hiding in Psych: 9. Also, Michael Biehn (The Terminator) pops up for a gratuitous cameo.
I can't take Psych: 9 to task for any particular reason. The film is decent in every way, boasting okay acting, so-so scripting, respectable directing, not-too-bad music, nice enough sets, and cinematography that's just passable. What is indecent about the film is that it is so merely decent. When you're dealing with a psychological horror movie, why settle for so-so?
I could name about twenty other psych-heavy flicks of this sort to recommend over Psych: 9 in any occasion. In fact, the film often feels like close facsimile of those movies -- take some Shutter Island, mix in some High Tension and Jacob's Ladder, throw in a twist of Fight Club and serve.
The derivative nature of the film wouldn't matter so much if it could muster some kind of identity. Sadly, there is really nothing particularly unique about the film beyond its overall competence. It disturbs when it wants to be disturbing (which is often given some of the dark subject matter Rosanna sifts through) and consistently keeps the viewer involved, but Psych: 9 just isn't very memorable. You'll see the twists coming from miles off, and the film just isn't inventive enough to rise above its own clichés. It doesn't succumb to them either, but just sort of stews and festers in OK-ness.
The one spectacular thing it does have going for it is Michael Biehn, who works a one-note character over in merely three scenes to make him the best performance in the entire movie. Seriously, his detective character is awesome purely because he's Michael Biehn. A couple of times during these scenes I imagined I was watching a documentary about how Biehn is a badass cop chasing serial killers in his free time, because he's just that hardcore. Then I remembered I was watching Psych: 9 and felt my heart drop in disappointment. Biehn, if you're reading this, let's make Michael Biehn: Serial Killer Killer a reality.
The Blu-ray itself syncs up with Psych: 9 in terms of quality. The 1080p picture looks pretty good, with a fair amount of detail, adequate black levels, and some fine saturated colors. There a few more inexplicably blurry shots than I prefer, but for an indie horror film of this sort, I got a better transfer than expected. The sound mix is just fine, leaning a bit too hard on seat exploding jump scares for my taste, but clear and atmospheric enough to make up for it.
The set's extras are well below average. "Fear and Desire: The Making of Psych: 9 is your standard, "we-hate-the-genre-we're-working-in" featurette that makes my skin crawl for all the wrong reasons, while deleted scenes and outtakes culminate in thirty minutes of sleeping-pill quality bonus footage. Also included is an obligatory trailer.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes