Asylum (2008)

Genre(s): Horror
MGM || R - 93 minutes - $26.98 || July 15, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-07-10


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer(s): Ethan Lawrence (written by)
Cast: Sarah Roemer, Jake Muxworthy, Mark Rolston, Travis Van Winkle, Ellen Hollman, Carolina Garcia, Cody Kasch


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

I was chased around a mental asylum by a crazy murderous doctor and all I got was this stupid shirt.

When we last saw Sarah Roemer, she was running from Shia LaBeoufís psychotic next door neighbor in Disturbia and now sheís on the run again in this psychological-supernatural-horror film called Asylum.

Roemer plays Madison, a college-bound woman with a troubled past. At a young age, her mentally unbalanced father killed himself in front of her and her brother. Now sheís going to the same college her brother went to and subsequently where he too committed suicide. Why? As she explains to the supposed ďmale love interestĒ of this film, she wanted closure. Of course, things only become more ominous when we discover that the dorm she and a group of others are staying was once an asylum!

Taken on a tour of the dorm, their senior advisor mentions another door to the other side of the building, a section that is still under renovation by the college. He makes mention of this because rule #1 is to never go in there and that only he and a select few others have access. Well, itís a good thing one member of this group; a 16-year-old boy genius named String, is a renowned computer hacker and easily bypassed the code. String also provides the details of the asylum-turned-dorm and about the mad doctor who performed experiments/torture on troubled teens. So the group goes in and explores this creepy area where the weight of what happened starts to make an impact.

Not too long afterward, strange things begin to happen as the good doctor is back for more patients. This doctor can get into their heads and take them back to a time of their most horrific anguish and suffering whereupon he would end that suffering using various methods (oh, like tearing out someoneís tongue or ripping off their lips). And students quickly start disappearing while poor Madison, but only for a moment, starts believing she is nuts. Before the madness began, we do get insight into each of their issues. One was at one time fat, another sexually abused, and another was a shy recluse.

Asylum is yet another paint-by-numbers, monster-of-the-week horror film with a couple no-name actors killed in horrific and bloody fashion... but to what end? Yeah, itís certainly makes you squeamish sometimes but is it scary? Not really. All this is a ghost demon doctor (who can be hurt for some reason) chasing some guy and gals around a dorm. I really thing this couldíve been a fine psychological thriller with depth and perception but instead itís just another run of a mill genre picture with little entertainment value and an even worse story.

I like Sarah Roemer. Sheís cute, hot and sexy and is actually a decent actress. While many looked at Shia LaBeouf in Disturbia, I though Roemer had a chance to breakout. If Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel can get work in leading roles, why not Roemer? Well, she got it here but chose a really bad script that ironically was also poorly executed by director David R. Ellis. Yes, the same David R. Ellis behind Final Destination 2, Cellular, Snakes on a Plane and the upcoming Final Destination 4. Though nowhere near mighty, he seems to have fallen some (Cellular in particilar was actually a good suspense thriller).

In the end, Asylum is nothing more than another low-budget horror flick. Itís been so many times before and quite frankly, probably better. Roemer still is cute but with a thinly written character and a stupid story, there wasnít much she could do for this movie.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Nope, other than some trailers for other films, no extras for this one...



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The DVD received is watermarked and at times really grainy. It could be part of the design, but I doubt all of it was. I also noticed some edge enhancement. If/when I receive final product, I will update this for my impressions.

Asylum features a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that isnít entirely effective but I guess its good enough. I think it couldíve been stronger during certain scenes but as it stands itís an OK track.



.::OVERALL::.

I think with another writing taking the concept, Asylum couldíve been a memorable psychological-suspense-thriller but instead itís a horror movie thatís been made plenty of times before. There are no features on the disc so we donít know exactly what the filmmakers wanted to accomplish with this, of course in all likelihood, maybe they didnít know either. Avoid.