In Clinical, a psychiatrist struggles with the ghost of a patient, literally and figuratively.
Clinical is a movie in three parts. The first is the main plot and it takes an hour and a half. It's super boring. I'm going to fill this review full of pictures of the psychiatrist looking bored so that you really get the idea. Anyway, the plot is about a psychiatrist’s struggle with the fact that she gave a patient tons of meds and bad advice, leading to the patient flipping out and cutting her own throat with a piece of glass.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Jane Mathis, is struggling with that trauma. Her normal patients bore her – they just want her for her drugs – and she tells them she doesn’t do that. At least, she doesn’t when she’s working. When she’s NOT prescribing drugs to her boring patients with boring problems, she’s popping pills of her own and downing them with big glasses of chardonnay. This is invariably followed by the ghost of the girl, Nora, showing up and causing a ruckus.
Dr. Mathis thinks she can exorcise her demons by helping a new patient who had his face ripped off in a car accident and then got it sewn back on. Dr. Mathis’ disposable cop boyfriend is introduced, as well as Dr. Mathis’s own therapist, Terry.
Every scene with Terry is incredibly boring because it involves Terry asking an asinine question like “How are you today” followed by Dr. Mathis pulling back the hood on his therapeutic techniques “You’re trying to engage me on a personal level, to get me to open up about my problems.” After minutes of painfully self-conscious back-and-forth, Dr. Mathis reveals she’s helping the face guy and Terry warns her “It could be dangerous.”
Now, he means dangerous on an emotional level, because there’s no way he could know that the face guy is really a rapist psycho who doesn’t need therapy at all and is actually stalking Dr. Mathis in an elaborate revenge plot.
Anyway, Dr. Mathis and the face guy dive into his memory of the car crash that ripped his face off and the progress they make there is ostensibly the progress of the entire movie.
Then it turns out that the meds Dr. Mathis has been taking are turning her into a psycho, and she kills someone with a corkscrew! This begins the second phase of the movie, the insane plot twist phase. Of course, Dr. Mathis’s meds weren’t really the culprit. She was really drugged in her sleep in a way that conveniently caused her to hallucinate that she was fighting her ghost and caused her to commit murder and go to a psych ward.
Then she escapes from the psych ward and jumps into a car, which happens to have the psycho in it who was waiting for her to escape from the psych ward! And the girl who was a ghost was really alive the whole time, until just as that’s discovered she hangs herself and is now really dead.
So there are about 8 plot twists in a 20 minute span that have nothing to do with the first hour and a half, they’re the spasms and thrashings of a desperate screenplay. And then there’s the third part of the movie.
The third part of the movie one single shining “Oh S**T!” moment. It reminds me of some of my favorite scenes from True Blood, like when Vampire Bill is hate shagging his evil vampire girlfriend, and he turns her head all the way around as he bangs her in an act of angry sexual sadism, to which she screams “I love you” and he howls with woe. Or when the good looking blonde vampire rips a dude’s heart out of his chest and drinks it like a juice box to make a statement upon entering a room full of witches.
There is ONE scene in Clinical that is on that level and I will definitely not spoil it for you.
Look at the time! Questions for Paul!
JD: How did you react to that scene? Silent fist pump? Face palm?
PH: It was literally jaw-dropping. For me the more satisfying part was when she gets up and sees her handiwork in the lawn and is all like, "ewww." It would be like if the Patriots were positively repulsed by how dominantly they won the superbowl. Like, I won so epically, I'm actually disgusted.
JD: Considering how questionable cork screws are for their intended purpose, how is it that they’re so great at one-shot killing people?
PH: Good point! I think the solution is that the corkscrew belongs to the screwing family in general. And screwing, generally, is one of those things where intents and results have little in common.
JD: Why was the ghost daughter helping her dad?
PH: I don't know, man. Was she? I think it would take way more shots of a bored therapist to figure that out. I didn't really understand what she was doing besides going through the trash. To me, she was more suicidal racoon than ghost daughter.
JD: And did they really just happen to be jogging next to her? How random is that?
PH: Oh yeah! That's right--the jogging scene! Pretty random that she would be right there, hiding in the bushes. But then again, when you're a chronically bored therapist who doesn't treat your patients, I'm sure you would get used to them turning up in all manner of shrubbery.