Clinical (2017): Twist and Shout (Review)

Promotional poster for Clinical

Directed and co-written by Alistair Legrand (the other writer on the film was Luke Harvis) Clinical is an effective combination of the thriller and horror genres. This is Legrand’s second film and it offers up enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing right up until the final reveal.

It could be called a “twist and shout”  movie as there are enough false leads and surprising turns to keep the most astute viewer on their toes. There are hints that things are not necessarily what they appear to be but not until later and not until we have been sucked into the good doctor’s world.

Vinessa Shaw is Dr. Jane Mathis; a psychiatrist who is attacked by a former patient who then slits her own throat. The doctor has scars from the attack, both mental and physical, but she continues to help other patients as she recovers. 

The patient who slashed her with a broken bit of glass is Nora (played with creepy, and damned scary, conviction by India Eisley) who ends up in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. Jane, who has started treating  new patient; Alex (Lethal Weapon‘s Kevin Rahm) a man horribly disfigured by an auto accident, starts seeing Nora everywhere. 

As the film progresses things take a severe shift into another direction. We now question Jane’s version of events  and indeed wonder if anything seen to this point is actually real.

Some of the effects are quite horrific; one scene with Rahm’s character’s face is very nearly nightmarish, and while the plot may not be clear enough for some to follow, Legrand manages to keep things moving well enough to entertain.

Rahm is brilliant as the mystery patient and Eisley is disturbing as the mentally tortured kid who “haunts’ Jane. Shaw makes the transitions required to tell the story convincingly and helps to move the tale along with its many twists and turns.

William Atherton has a small role as Terry; Jane’s therapist. The actor is best known for his role in the first two Die Hard films as that reporter. Character actor Nestor Serrano is spot on as the antagonistic and despicable psychiatrist who “treats” both Nora and Jane.

Aaron Stanford, who worked with Vinessa on The Hills Have Eyes remake has little screen time as Miles, Jane’s cop boyfriend. It is nice, however, to see the two in another project together. 

Clinical is now available on Netflix either to stream or to download and watch later offline. This is a cracking film. It earns a solid 4 stars for having enough mystery to keep one guessing until the final reveal.

Underworld: Awakening (2012) 3D RED Style

My daughter and I watched the latest instalment in the Underworld series/franchise last night. While the film itself is not going to win any awards for sticking to the ‘verse’ initially created by Wiseman and co, it does have the distinction of being the first 3D film shot entirely on the Sony Red Epic digital camera.

And as best as I could tell from watching the movie, it definitely did not suffer from being shot digitally. Having said that, we did only watch the 2D version as our telly isn’t 3D and we don’t have any of the special glasses either.

Underworld: Awakening is now among the growing number of films that are being shot digitally instead of ‘traditionally.’ If you Google the phrase RED you will find a plethora of references and websites all pertaining to the ‘new’ digital camera that is becoming a favourite among mainstream film makers.

If you look on Wikipedia, there is a long list of films that are due to be released this year and next that have used the Red camera to film them. It does appear that Sony is leading the list of ‘most used’ but, Cannon and a few other brands are creeping in there. *Link here – List of Films Shot on in Digital*

In most cases, it seems that the Red is being used in areas that are traditionally difficult to film with ‘traditional’ cameras and not the entire film. Until recently the only folks adventurous enough to use the Red for the entire process were the Independents.

Underworld: Awakening has proved that you can not only shot your entire project digitally, but it can also be used for the 3D process as well. A little ground breaking for sure.

Unfortunately that is the only thing that is ground breaking about Awakening. Directed by Måns MårlindBjörn Stein and with a screenplay written by Len Wiseman (with an addtional 7 credits listed on IMDb for writing, it seems to prove that too many cooks can spoil a broth) the only thing the film really has going for it is the return of Kate Beckinsale as lead character Selene.

The film strays quite far from the verse that Wiseman created over ten years ago with the original film. The story in a nutshell is that people have discovered the existence of the Vampires and Lycans and have set out to ‘cleanse’ them from the face of the earth. So far so good. But…

Michael and Selene get separated and when they reunite in an ambush both get captured and  put on ice (literally) for observation and experimentation. Once Selene escapes, (aided, she thinks, by Michael) the rest of the film deals with her trying to discover where Michael is and in the interim finding out that she has a daughter Eve (India Eisley).

India Eisley as Eve *Google Images*

Despite the ‘new technology’ used to shoot the film and added 3D, this film is never going to be a stand out from the other instalments. For one thing, it has been ten years since Kate Beckinsale got all corseted up as Selene the death dealer and it looks it.

I don’t mean in the face department, in that area Kate looks like she’s not aged a day. No, where the ten year gap shows is in the wire work and pistol shooting department. In the first two Underworld films, Kate did the wire work like a pro, smooth seamless and almost effortless. She also was one of the few folks in Hollywood who could squeeze off a multitude of blank rounds and never blink.

That has changed. Kate still doesn’t blink a whole lot, but, now she does blink and the wire work looked awkward and clumsy. Almost as clumsy as the patch-work plot.

It was a little sad to note that the only ‘older’ English actor they could seem to find to play a coven ‘elder’ was Charles Dance. I can only assume that the other older English cadre of Hollywood favourites were otherwise engaged or they thought that Bill Nighy‘s act was too hard to follow. I know that Derek Jacobi found the shadow cast by Nighy was difficult to overcome.

The film is worth a watch though, after all my moaning, just for Beckinsale and the young actress Eisley (the offspring of Olivia Hussey) who performs very well in her second feature film role. The other chap to watch for is Theo James as David. This man exuded buckets full of charisma, confidence and believability all in equal measure. An honourable mention also has to  be given to Michael Ealy as Detective Sebastian.

Michael Ealy as Detective Sebastian

If you don’t expect a film that is 100% faithful to the Underworld verse or don’t mind that things are introduced into the verse that are never explained, you won’t be too disappointed in the movie.

I feel that the directors and the crew got a bit too enamoured of the Red cameras and the 3D process to care about things that did not make sense. Sorry guys, but as nice as it was to see Kate Beckinsale as Selene again, that combined with your 3D did not make up for the films shortcomings.

A nice watch and definitely no more than a ‘one bagger.’

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