How is this movie stupid? Let me count the ways:

Stalker just happens to land a job where Sawyer ends up going for some therapy. He has been there for some time, as other staff members point out and compliment him for his dedication to the job. Question to ask: how could stalker know Sawyer was going to go to this particular clinic, or any clinic at all? That’s a barf bag.

Stalker is able to “hack” the computer system and change Sawyer’s record. Turns out the stalker wasn’t even a nurse. He stole a real nurse’s identity. Good thing there are no qualifications for being a nurse, or knowing anything about the field of mental health, since then he might demonstrate the fact he had no idea what he was doing. And he’s a computer genius. Or maybe all the staff are given access to modify patient discharge records. Isn’t that how all hospitals and clinics operate? Why leave that stuff up to doctors and admins? Question to ask: who runs the IT security for this company, one of the patients? That’s 2 barf bags.

Therapy centre has massive section full of rooms that no-one ever enters. Not cleaning staff. Not maintenance, nurses, doctors, orderlies. No one. Stalker has his own solitary confinement wing no one else on Earth knows about. Question to ask: why is most of the clinic empty but functional, and why are massive wings of the building simply ignored by everyone but stalking psychopaths? That’s 3 barf bags (are you keeping count?).

Stalker is able to physically drag, not one, not two, but three patients out of the ward (maybe he disabled all of the video cameras in the place, and no one at security noticed?). Question to ask: uh, why doesn’t anyone notice that either A) people are being dragged out of the ward by one of the nurses, or B) all of their security cameras appear to have broken at once? Gotta be 4 barf bags there.

Now, why not make a movie about the only interesting idea in this entire hot mess? The idea that private clinics are fooling people into committing themselves so they can gobble up their health insurance, then letting them go when it runs out? Is this a thing? Did Steven Soderbergh just make it up because he needed to pad this motion disaster with 20 minutes of pointless dialog?

If this movie had been made in the 80s I probably would have liked it. That was the era of the absurd killer able to survive situations that should have killed him, to be in places where he could never have known to be, and to follow people unwaveringly without any chance it could actually happen. But that was 30 years ago. Anyone who is not locked in a clinic like the one depicted in this movie should feel like someone who thought they had a ticket to a Ted Talk but finds out the room is rented by the flat Earth society, and has to listen to a 3 hour lecture about how the Earth is, well, flat.

I’m not saying throw the stalker out of the plot. It was a great device. But the actual stalker should have NEVER been in the movie — except for flashbacks and trauma ghosting. Have Sawyer see him as a result of the trauma of being stalked. Have her reactions lead to a spiral of increasing surveillance, length of stay, and medication. This could have been a blockbuster of a movie dealing with salient issues — the plight of women who are stalked by actual mortals, not superbeings — and the stress and trauma this causes in their lives. Couple that with the darkness of a for-profit “mental health” clinic gaming the system to increase profit and market share, at the cost of people’s lives (an old story, that, but a good one and worth exposing).

That’s a whopping 8 barf bags: