REVIEW: Clinical (2017)

Release Poster - Netflix
Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a quick review of Clinical – Directed by Alistair Legrand

Clinical, a Netflix original film, is a psychological thriller that takes a little while to grab you, but keeps you somewhat entertained until the third act, which I didn’t really like for reasons I’ll get into later. It stars Vinessa Shaw as Dr. Jane Mathis, a psychiatrist, who is trying to put her life back together after one of her patients attacked her.

Although she is unwilling to take on any new post-traumatic patients, she meets Alex (played by Kevin Rahm), who has been horribly scarred in an accident. She eventually agrees to help him, but by taking on this new patient memories of her attack resurfaces, and she starts to see things that genuinely terrify her.

As I mentioned earlier, it takes a little while for the film to get going and sit with you properly – even though the aforementioned attack is shown early in the film – but once Dr. Mathis started to help Alex the film began to grab hold of me. Alex and Dr. Mathis’ meetings are the highlights of the film, for me, and that’s largely due to Rahm – who is unrecognizable for most of the film – and Vinessa Shaw.

I want to get into some of my issues with the film here, and one of them was actually a positive for me for a while. I thought this film was shot fine, and I really enjoyed the use of dutch angles for particular scenes. However, I thought it started to be overdone. There were just too many shots with a dutch tilt.

Similarly, I thought the musical score was absolutely fine, but at one point it pulled me out of the film and, ultimately, that just has to be a negative. Also, while some of the flashbacks – or dream sequences – did have an effect on me (Alex’s bloody and scarred face in the flashback was particularly gruesome), there were just too many dream sequences.

Finally, let’s get to my issue with the third act, which I teased in my opening paragraph. I won’t spoil what happens, but, at a certain point, Dr. Mathis finds out something about her former patient that completely changes her point of view and springs her into action. It’s right around this time that the film becomes a bit too convoluted, confusing, farfetched, and a little bit silly for my liking. It might’ve worked for some, but I lost interest here.

My final score for Clinical is going to seem like it isn’t worth your time, but don’t let that fool you. Most of the film is entertaining, and while the third act didn’t quite work for me, there was enough here for me to, at the very least, say that while I don’t think it’s a good movie, Clinical isn’t a waste of your time if you are a fan of the genre with a free evening ahead of you.

4.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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