Netflix UK film review: Clinical
Jumps in the night6
Mike Williams | On 17, Jan 2017
Director: Alistair Legrand
Cast: Vinessa Shaw, Kevi Rahm, India Eisley
Watch Clinical online in the UK: Netflix UK
Movies about psychiatrists and mental health somehow always end up turning into paranoia-induced confusion – and that’s just for the audience. Clinical takes us through a turbulent couple of years for Jane (Shaw), a therapist who’s scarred both physically and mentally after a young patient attacks her.
From the outset, it’s hard to define the genre of this morbid story. At first, the static shot of a lingering full moon gives us a sense that we’re about to embark on a chilling horror of sorts, yet the narrative unfolds into a slow drama, that, in turn, evolves further. As we learn more about the people around Jane, but little of the woman herself, the film delves into psychological terror and total paranoia.
That mixture of genres feels disjointed. Once we get past the opening, intriguing half-hour, the movie suddenly takes a dip and, for a spell, is stagnant. The acting is, at times, shaky and, like the quality of its screenplay, dips in and out, which hampers your level of engagement all the way through. Just like the story, you begin to feel like you’re losing control and that’s when it all begins to get rather silly and illogical.
The crooked, angular shots and lengthy corridor pans are something of a tired trope, but it’s the element of horror that feels the most consistent in this jumbled thriller. Slow pacing and very little action interspersed with these elements make it dull, at times, but the narrative does just enough to keep you watching. For all its mixed messages of how we perceive mental health and society’s attitudes in dealing with it, Clinical has some well-intentioned, twisty moments intended to skewer what we take at face value. This is a story about perspective and, for the most part, is easy to follow – it’s just not that original of an idea.
As far as Netflix originals go, it’s not one of their strongest. If you’re after an inventive, intense adrenaline rush, then opt for Hush. Clinical suffices as a few hours of filler, but it won’t be something you think about afterwards.
Clinical is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.