Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Mark Rolston, Cody Kasch, Jake Muxworthy, Carolina Garcia, Sarah Roemer
Directed by David R. Ellis
Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment
Know the name David R. Ellis? If you’re a fan of Final Destination 2 (which I am), then you should. Ellis directed that truly dark and mean-spirited sequel and along the way created one of the most spectacular car crashes ever put to film. It was brutal, riddled with tension, gory, and jaw-droppingly satisfying. The rest of the film followed suit, and I was quite happy in the end. Needless to say, when word of his latest feature, Asylum, broke, I was more than excited. Here I am about ten minutes removed from watching it, and honestly? I feel like I’ve just sat through another, much sillier car wreck.
We meet Madison (Roemer) as she and her brother are watching her mentally unstable father blow his brains out. Yay, kicking things off with a bang! Fast forward several years, and she’s just about to start college, the very same college that her brother ended up taking his own life in just a year before. Talk about moving in with baggage. Upon orientation she and her new dorm mates learn that the place where they’ll be hanging their hats is actually a converted mental asylum that was once run by the evil Dr. Burke. Burke had a way with his patients back in the day. He would take away their pains by making them endure all manner of heinous mutilations and then scramble their brains via optical lobotomy. After a good and bloody run, his surviving patients turned against him, and his body was never recovered. Yet, his spirit still roams these halls, carrying on his work. Sound familiar? Ever see the House on Haunted Hill remake? Yeah. Anyway, one by one Dr. Burke finds what horrifying secrets each student harbors (aren’t there any normal people in this world?) and then does them in accordingly. Of course Madison and Burke have their who is more loony — the doctor or the patient? — showdown and then the credits roll.
To be fair, the movie, despite being horribly derivative, started off on the right foot. The acting is above average, and it’s shot and looks pretty damned good, but then as the minutes start ticking by … wow. What happened here? At the end of the day the real menace of Asylum rears its head — the script. It really, and I mean really, bogs this one down. No actor, I don’t care who they are, can utter tripe like “Give me your suffering”, “You’re dead meat”, and (my personal favorite) “Your souls are mine! Your souls are mine!” without sounding cheesy and completely inept.
Then there’s the villain, Dr. Burke. He’s just not scary, especially when he disrobes for the film’s third act (for no apparent reason mind you), exposing his flabby frame that’s bound by what looks like leather and wire. This dude definitely flunked out of the Dr. Channard Institute of Evil™. I’m sorry; I can’t take heaving man-breasts seriously even with corpse make-up on them. This dude was about as intimidating as Tom Willis (Franklin Cover) was in “The Jeffersons”. Not good. Not good at all.
What about the gore? Ellis is not afraid of the R rating, but in Asylum we get very little of it. I don’t know, man. Maybe I’m just getting too jaded. There are a couple of good gags here and there, but mostly we’re strictly dealing with your average stabbings. The cringe-worthy meter barely goes above a two on a scale of ten. Feh.
As for special features, there’s nothing to see here. Nothing. Donut land. The big Cheerio. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. Not even a trailer.
With its out of place pop soundtrack, pretty cast, and flaccid chills, this flick seems like it was aimed more toward the young adult demographic than the horror fan. If you’re a fourteen-year-old girl, Asylum might seem like one of the bloodiest and scariest films ever! Like, Oh My God! For everyone else? Everyone else will find it horribly average. This is not what the doctor ordered.
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
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