Main cast: Emmanuelle Vaugier (Maya Taylor), Madison Smith (Alex Dales), Georgia Bradner (Jane), Jason Tremblay (Ben), Jag Bal (Jason), Ryan Cowie (Mr White), Eva Day (Kate), Timothy Paul Coderre (Charles Casey), and Erika Bruci (Emma)
Director: Ann Forry
So here I am, in a ward with a patch over one eye like a cool pirate, bored and randomly switching channels in the room I am stuck in, when I come across the notification that something called Psycho Intern will begin in five minutes on the Lifetime channel. With a title like that, how can I not be intrigued? Emmanuelle Vaugier is the lead actor too, and I remember that she was pretty good in the criminally underrated House of the Dead 2, and…
Oh my god, what did she do to her face? I know, age and gravity can be cruel to an actor trying to maintain a career in Hollywood, but Ms Vaugier doesn’t just look like an entirely different person now. She looks like she’s had one too many plastic surgery done by someone that has only superficial knowledge of what a female human being looks like; there is now a disconcerting uncanny valley vibe to her face that leaves me torn between succumbing to the urge to look away or just keep looking at her face because it’s just too bizarre not to.
Oh yes, the movie. This is a standard nutcase chasing after a woman thing that Lifetime practically fills its current catalog with. When the movie opens, I see 30-year old high school kid Alex Dales yelling at his teacher that the man needs to give him a good grade now. The teacher reports Alex’s behavior to the principal instead, and Alex’s parents are called in. His father, whom later I will learn to be a demanding parent that constantly finds fault with everything Alex does, is not happy and reprimands the 30-year old boy as they drive home that Alex should have earned a good grade instead of behaving like a prat. Alex loses it, reaches out from the back of the car to grab the wheel from his father, and drive them off the road. He intends to kill his father, but oh no, his mother dies as well. How did that happen? As you can imagine, Alex is not exactly a smart kid.
Then we cut to later, when under a different name, he has apparently graduated from college and is now an intern working for Maya Taylor, a successful single mother and girl boss that has every man in the room standing up to clap despite delivering the most basic kind of presentation ever. The plot summary makes a big deal about Maya sleeping with this nutcase, which leads to him going all cray cray on her, but that only happens at about the midway point of the film. By then, he has behaved in such a weird, awkward “I stare at you and breathe heavily through my mouth every time you are in the room” manner that I’d find it easier to believe that Maya would sleep with him if she had been drunk or something.
Psycho Intern is actually a depressingly mediocre Lifetime movie right down to lapses of logic and predictable actions straight out of the Lifetime formula handbook. For example, when you discover the dire, ghastly secrets of a nutcase, you always confront that person on your own, without telling anyone else or bringing any means to defend yourself should that fellow react in a way nutcases typically will. Don’t ask me how this company would hire an intern without doing a proper background check, especially when the intern’s entire sordid past could be discovered online conveniently on the several top listings on the first page of a search result Maya makes by typing in his name. This movie plays out like every other Lifetime movie of this nature, to the point of being interchangeable with those other films.
The acting is also pretty flat as expected of movies of this sort, which typically boast a cast comprising actors that know they aren’t going to get any better roles or actors that have once been in better things but now have lost their chance at regaining their former glory—an universally dead inside cast that recite their lines while mentally counting the seconds until their check clears, in other words. The one exception is Madison Smith, whose scenery-chewing efforts at bringing out the cray cray from his character are often so awful that he ends up being unintentionally hilarious for all the wrong reasons. Mr Smith is the sole reason this thing gets one extra oogie that it normally won’t deserve by the way, because he has me laughing out loud from the opening scene itself. There is something so, so, bad about his acting that transcends into being a twisted kind of awesomeness.
Oh, and the movie can’t even deliver a decent climax. The nutcase is taken care of in a blink and it’s over moment, and then there’s a few minutes of fairy tale ending before the credits roll. I hope folks aren’t expecting any torrid sex scenes when they watch this, because this is a Lifetime movie and hence, nobody is getting any naughty thrills from this one. The only reason to watch Psycho Intern, aside from morbid curiosity, is to gape at what Ms Vaugier had done to her face and to cringe laugh at Madison Smith’s atrocious failure at playing a supposedly hot nutcase.