The problem with this film is one that brings down many science fiction or horror films and that is bad science. Were it just one or two isolated discrepancies, I’d be able to explain them away as mistakes made by the “real” Dr Tyler herself but pretty much everything portrayed in the therapeutic process itself in the film is dodgy. Dr Tyler breaks patient confidentiality on several occasions and reveals her suspicions behind one patient’s death to another patient. Patients are pushed through highly disturbing recollections resulting in them being harmed and they are not properly brought out of the hypnotic state before being allowed to leave to offices. Once again, these could all be mistakes made by the “real” character but most telling is the whole issue of hypnosis itself. It is simply not possible to induce hypnosis in a highly disturbed and agitated patient as the process relies on them calming down and focusing on your voice.
Then there is the contrast between the “real” Dr Tyler and Milla Jovovich. Milla Jovovich is normally a really good actress but she doesn’t look or sound like the “real” Dr Tyler and this is jarring as the film continually skips back to the older footage. I might as well mention at this point that there are strong suspicions that the “real” Dr Tyler was in fact an actress named Charlotte Milchard who was identified in the credits as a Nome resident. If that is true, then the plain fact is that Milchard gave a remarkable, inspired performance which unfortunately meant that Jovovich paled in comparison.
In a sense, it is quite disappointing that they presented the film in this way and used the technique of a mock documentary. If they had just focused on the plot and stopped trying to convince audiences that it was a true story, they could have delivered a pretty terrifying story. Without giving the storyline away too much, the facets of the screaming, distortion and the Sumerian voices is pretty interesting and scary but this film was executed really badly.