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DVD Review

DVD cover

Psych 9


Starring: Sara Foster, Cary Elwes and Michael Biehn
Universal Pictures UK
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 18
Available 11 October 2010

Roslyn applies for a night-shift job at a hospital which is due to close. It entails sorting through and collating files. She is alone but for a strange security guard at the gate outside, and a professor up on the abandoned 5th floor psychiatric department. Almost immediately, she begins to experience unrest; strange noises and the sense that she is not alone. When news reaches her that a woman working an earlier shift at the hospital has been brutally murdered by a serial killer police are calling the Nighthawk, her nerves are further shredded by the isolation. A police detective turns up to ask her a few questions, but even he seems a little creepy. It is then that Roslyn discovers a connection between the killer's victims and the psychiatric wing of the hospital...

Setting a horror movie in an empty or near-empty hospital or psychiatric facility is so common now it has almost become a sub-genre in its self. Nevertheless, there is something inherently eerie about most old hospitals, even when they're fully active, so I can fully understand the motive. It's like a haunted house scenario where it's easier to justify a dark past affecting the present, because it was a common activity to experiment on those considered insane (and the definition was somewhat incongruous), effectively attempting to jump start their sanity with copious amounts of electricity.

It's natural to watch Psyche 9 with the belief it is a supernatural offering. Although there are distinctive nods in this direction, the film is more of a whodunit. Who is the notorious killer? Is it the boyfriend who also works nights, but can't always account for his movements? Is it the security guard with the threatening air? Is it the professor on the 5th floor who is keen to get inside Roslyn's head? Is it the detective hunting the killer, who seems strangely reserved himself? Or is it Mr Jenkins, caretaker of the abandoned amusement park? Sorry, that last one was Scooby-Doo, I think. It does successfully accomplish what it sets out to achieve, with a creeping malaise and genuine building of suspense. The marketing promotion rather pointlessly gives the game away, but I won't do that here. The film deserves rather better than that.

There are some nice special features on the disc: Out-takes (22 mins); Deleted Scenes (35 mins), and Who is Andrew Shortell? - an interview/behind-the-scenes with the director (35 mins).


Ty Power

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