Maybe it’s the fact that I’m still hungover four days after that beautiful beatdown the Eagles delivered to the Bears, but Christmas Eve seemed to call for some horror. I don’t pretend to know how my brain works, but there it is.
As I was scrolling the On Demand horror section of FilmOn, every third option seemed like a potential cure, and then I got to the stats for Beyond Remedy. Two words: Rick Yune, who’s in it. In case you don’t know, this guy is like The Rock, Tom Hanks and Jet Li all in one badass package. You think you know him from Fast and Furious One, Ninja Assassin and the bad guy with the diamonds in his face from that James Bond film a few years back. But here’s what you don’t know, and don’t act like you knew all this either because you didn’t: Rick Yune was a fucking Versace model. Not only that, but he’s a Golden Gloves boxer, got a Wharton business degree, traded on Wall Street and qualified for the Olympics in martial arts at 19. When you’re finished digging the lint booger out of your belly button, why don’t you spend a few minutes thinking about that?
Beyond Remedy opens with some German lady reading Latin from a medical textbook while cutting carrots, and she starts seeing blood everywhere and some zombie-looking guy staring at her. The tub is running even though she didn’t turn it on and she’s all freaked out, understandably. She’s even less happy when the zombie dude leaps out of the tub and cuts her open like a FedEx package. But it turns out it’s just a dream. Which is such a lame movie device at this point, but oh man, I’ve had dreams like that. Though in my dreams, it’s usually a UPS dude because to me, those guys are the creepiest of the lot. What can brown do for me? Never come back.
So she travels to a dark abandoned hospital of some sort in Germany and she’s got suitcases with her, and some old guy is watching her on video cameras. Then Rick Yune shows up. He says some other medical people cancelled because “not everyone has the courage to see things through.” He’s so clearly fucking with her to test her and I’m so with him because the best horror shit is psychological anyway. Then he says that the head doctor likes to keep the hospital all dark and sinister and looking like a John Woo shootout happened ten minutes ago. But get this: The head guy’s name? Professor Gingrich! No shit. But if he turns out to be the bad guy and the filmmaker is making some stupid politics comment I’m going to be pissed. Show some respect.
So of course cell phones don’t work in the weird hospital and then they’re watching an old film from the ’60s of a doctor giving a strapped-down woman electric shocks. She spits up and dies. I feel certain that this is the image my ex-wife Lacey has of our marriage.
Rick Yune is Dr. Lee, and he works with Gingrich, who explains his genius breakthrough fear therapies to six people including a random hot chick. It turns out they’re all doctors in training and have signed up for some experiment to get over their pathological fears so they’re not shitty doctors who freak out when a camel spider crawls out of a patient’s throat or something. Old Man Gingrich starts yelling at them and drones on and on and on all serious, and explains that fear is a “plague” and “the third biggest disease in the world…” Yeah, after fake tits and talking too much. Let’s move on, yeah?
One guy can’t look into mirrors (huh?), another guy is claustrophobic, a third guy who looks like the gay kid who played the first Spider-Man has an issue with heights. The main Frauline is scared of knives and sharp objects like scalpels, which could be a problem come surgery time. Hot Chick can’t deal with the dark. “Are you willing, truly willing, to come to terms with your fears?” Gingrich asks them. If I were in that room I would be telling him, “Not if you’re just going to add to them, Skeletor.” Gingrich promises a cure for all of them if they commit to his controversial therapy and then screams, “You’ll hate me!” Already there, buddy. Still, it’s a strong set-up, and I’m primed for some head games.
Right away, they all get trapped on an elevator and the claustrophobic guy flips out. When they finally get off, Rick Yune is standing there all smug and admits he was fucking with them again and they’re pissed. “Anger is a lot better than fear,” Rick Yune says with a nod, like they’re already half cured. That concept got a lot of traction in my childhood courtesy of my stepdad, by the way, only replace the word “fear” with “sanity,” and “anger” with “eating seventeen Hot Pockets and doing donuts with your kid’s Puch Magnum at three am.”
Then, they’re all wearing red doctor gowns and looking at a dead lady with her scalp missing who killed herself because she couldn’t get over panic attacks, and Rick Yune gives a really good speech about how fear works in the body and how it relates to our memories of bad events and traumas and what is reality really anyway and how it’s all just biology. And he’s basically blowing my mind because I said this same shit to Lacey the last time we were in AC when she was giving me pushback about a threesome.
Meanwhile, Julia, the German lady, is still having flashbacks and nightmares all the time, and it turns out her little brother died because she couldn’t cut him open when he was choking. I don’t think she wasn’t studying medicine back then, so why she should be expected to jump in the pool and stick a knife into the kid’s larynx is confusing. This doesn’t stop Gingrich from quoting Hippocrates oath and telling Julia “fear and emotion lead to fatal mistakes.” This is totally true. When my friend Jase mangled his collarbone at Snake Creek last fall, it was because he was too jacked up about his girlfriend’s new tramp stamp. I told him to relax and leave that shit in the parking lot but he was deaf to it. Love has no place on the track nor any other kind of sexual commotion. That’s a law of nature. Fuck with it and perish. That said, Heather’s tat was pretty hot.
The intrigue starts to build after all that opening clatter. The Asian doctor student with asthma tells Julia that 15 years ago, the clinic they’re in was the site of 13 kids dying because they got the wrong medicine and the doctor who did it is still hanging around. So she makes to take off, but stops in the cafeteria for a shot of tequila first, which strikes me as a smart move. But it becomes hard for her to drink it because somebody shoves something through the back of her head and out her mouth.
And then there were five.
All the rest of them are tested as Grinch and Rick Yune play all kinds of fucked up pranks on them. The mirror guy is put in a box that’s only mirrors and slowly goes bonkers. The hot chick tries to seduce Rick Yune and he’s not having it. This guy is so self-contained! Rick Yune would totally kill if he decided to go UFC. A man unto himself. Gingrich gives the darkness girl — who’s just wearing panties now — a needle and Jesus I can’t stand that shit. I can take shots, but I don’t want to look at somebody else getting stuck. It’s too private. Julia is given another test and fails again. The floor of the elevator falls out and the heights guy has to deal with it. Then Julia discovers that Gingrich has his own issues and she starts fucking with him. This is getting good and twisted, and Julia may very well be going crazy. And then they have to start running from a masked guy in one of those red robes.
This is when we get some really good gore. Right on. It’s about time.
Meanwhile, Julia finds a records room in the basement with newspaper clippings and starts thinking it’s Gingrich who’s the old clinic killer and tells Rick Yune. Rick Yune is skeptical and gives her an awesome speech about trauma and wounds and how they’re getting in the way of her being her best and I’m clapping in my living room because the guy’s so crazy inspirational. “Sometimes you only have to take the risk of a small step to see things in a different way,” Rick Yune says. Goddamn right, dude. Then again, the guy whose leg got ripped off when he took a small step down the elevator shaft is probably seeing things a different way too.
The last third of the movie is tight, and I won’t spoil it. At first, it had a major twist that had me about to throw my laptop through the wall in rage, but luckily it was followed by another one that totally floored me. The person who turns out to be the killer has a pretty good motive and a cool sadistic way of playing it out. Let’s just say Julia gets one more chance to pass the test. At the end, there’s one final debate about whether doctors are better for their empathy and fear or would be better as cold unfeeling machines. “He must have fear to know what’s at stake!” cries one character who is living that out at that exact moment. Pretty clever. And pretty heavy.
To sum up: Good atmosphere with the lighting, but the music was more like soap opera music sometimes. Shaky acting from everyone but Rick Yune, but that’s hardly important in a scenario like this. Plotwise, you get the payoffs you expect but they don’t pay off the way you expect them to, which was cool. It has a really great script and dialogue with a serious topic. It reminded me a bit of Saw in that way — a lot of smart stuff going on underneath the bloodfest. Actually, when they decide to do the inevitable Saw remake, I have a suggestion for who should play Jigsaw. A guy by the name of Rick Yune.
7,000 RPMs is the weekly movie column of Randall P. Manville (“RPM”), an entrepreneur, bike enthusiast and freelance writer in New Castle, Delaware.
More horror is available on FilmOn here.
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