On the Lifetime channel, I noticed that something called Psycho Intern would start in five minutes. How can I not be attracted by a title like that? Emmanuelle Vaugier also stars as the lead, and I recall her being quite excellent in the criminally underappreciated House of the Dead 2.
What did she do to her face, oh my god? I understand that gravity and age may be brutal to an actress trying to make a living in Hollywood, but Ms. Vaugier appears to be a completely different person. She seems to have had one too many plastic surgeries performed by someone with only a rudimentary understanding of what a female human being looks like; her face now has a disconcerting uncanny valley vibe to it, and I’m torn between resisting the urge to look away and continuing to stare at it because it’s just too bizarre not to.
The film, of course. This is a classic nutcase going-after-a-woman scenario that Lifetime almost has a whole repertoire of right now. When the film begins, I see Alex Dales, a 30-year-old high school student, shouting at his instructor, demanding that he give him a decent grade right now. Instead, the instructor informs the administration about Alex’s conduct, and Alex’s parents are contacted. His father, whom I will later learn to be a strict dad who finds fault with everything Alex does, is not pleased and reprimands the 30-year-old kid as they drive home, saying that Alex should have achieved a high grade instead of acting like a twit.
Alex loses control and lunges out from the car’s rear to grasp his father’s steering wheel, driving them off the road. He intends to murder his father, but alas, his mother also perishes. What happened to cause that? As you would expect, Alex isn’t exactly a bright child.
Then we transition to a later time when he has allegedly graduated from college and is now working as an intern for Maya Taylor, a successful single mother and lady boss who gets every guy in the room getting up to applaud despite giving the most basic type of presentation imaginable. According to the narrative synopsis, Maya sleeping with this nutcase causes him to go all crazy on her, although this only happens around the halfway point of the movie. By that point, he’d acted in such an odd, awkward “I look at you and breathe heavily through my mouth every time you’re in the room” way that I’d be more inclined to think Maya would sleep with him if she’d been drunk.
Psycho Intern is a depressingly poor Lifetime film, complete with logical errors and predictable behaviors straight from the Lifetime formula guidebook. When you uncover the dreadful, horrific secrets of a nutcase, for example, you always approach that person on your own, without informing anybody else or bringing any means of defense in a case that individual reacts in the way that nutcases generally do. Please don’t ask me how this firm could recruit an intern without conducting a thorough background check, especially since the intern’s whole shady past is readily available online on many top rankings on the first page of a search Maya conducts simply putting in his name. This film plays out just like every other Lifetime film of its kind, to the point of becoming identical with others.
The acting is also relatively flat, as one would expect from a film of this genre, which typically features a cast of actors who know they won’t get any better roles or actors who have previously been in better parts but have now lost their chance at regaining their former glory—an internally dead cast who recite their lines while mentally counting the seconds until their check clears, in other words.
Madison Smith is the one exception, whose scenery-chewing attempts to bring out the crazy in his character are frequently so bad that he ends up being inadvertently amusing for all the wrong reasons. Mr. Smith is the primary reason this film gets an additional oogie it doesn’t typically receive since he had me laughing out loud from the very first scene. There’s something so, so awful about his acting that it transforms into twisted magnificence.
Oh, and the film fails to offer a satisfying conclusion. The psychopath is dealt with in a blink, and it’s over instant, followed by a few minutes of a fairy tale ending before the titles roll. I hope people aren’t anticipating any raunchy sex scenes when they see this because it’s a Lifetime film, so there won’t be any wicked thrills here. Apart from morbid curiosity, the only reason to watch Psycho Intern is to grimace at Ms. Vaugier’s face and grimace at Madison Smith’s utter ineptness at playing a hot nutcase.