Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So I’m watching the Hong Kong action flick ‘Connected’ which is a remake of the Hollywood movie ‘Cellular’ which was directed by former Hollywood Stuntman David R. Ellis, and a movie I really kind of dug. So I thinks to myself, ‘Hey Self - that David R. Ellis is pretty good director and I like the movies he makes’ with self noting that this also includes the neo cult wannabe classic ‘Snakes on a Plane’ and the incredibly bloody ‘Final Destination 2’. So we wanted to see what else Mr. Ellis has made that we might have missed which led us to this movie here, ‘Asylum’. Well… nobody bats a thousand, know what I’m saying? Sometimes we swing and miss so badly that people might wonder what we’re even doing with a bat in our hands in the first place. Now I’m not saying this about David R. Ellis because I know what the man can do, but damn….

Young Madison’s daddy is crazy for real. I mean dude is flat out of his mind. If he’d just take his meds he’d be okay but having known a few crazy people in my day they tend to think they’re better after taking their meds for a few months, stop taking those meds, and then the crazy gets back up in ‘em again. To save his family from the demons he sees every freaking where, figuring they only want him, he shoots himself in the head in front of his wife, son and young Madison.

Fast forward ten or so years and Madison has grown into a tight bodied college freshman (Sarah Roemer) and it’s looking like the crazy runs in the family. Madison's brother killed himself his freshman year of college the year before and as such Madison has enrolled at the same college, despite her moms protestations, because she feels it will help her cope with and understand her loss. Let us hope that Madison isn’t majoring in psychology because I’m seriously not feeling her self treatment methods.

So Sarah enrolls in school and meets her dorm mates destined to die which include Ivy the whore (Ellen Hollman), Tommy the jockish obnoxious dude (Travis Van Winkle), String the Nerd (Cody Kasch), Holt the studly love interest (Jake Muxworthy) and Maya the Minority (Caroline Garcia). This may come as a shock but would you believe that the dorm wing that they built for our kids, most of whom will be dead soon, was constructed on top of shuttered mental asylum where the evil Dr. Burke (Mark Rolston) conducted experiments on children, with many of these children being buried underneath here, and Dr. Burke being murdered by these inmates some sixty years ago? Who is the clown that insists on turning Indian Burial Grounds, insane asylums, old Slave quarters and group suicide dwellings into housing developments? STOP DOING THAT!

What’s even more shocking is that all of our kids are just as screwed up psychologically as Madison is, and how fortunate is it that all these screwed up kids with major personality disorders just happened to draw the short straw and live in a dorm that used to be mental asylum and is haunted by a crazy doctor. A doctor who uses their worst fears against them to kill them. How fortunate is that, huh?

It’s rare, but every once in a while you watch a movie that makes you yell out ‘Hey! I think I can do this!’ A movie should never allow you to believe this. When I was watching that ‘Benjamin Button’ movie, not one single time did I think I could make a movie just like that one, not that I thought the movie was all that great, it was just out the scope of my perceived abilities. ‘Asylum’ on the other hand can make one start to think crazy stuff. If you think you can write a script that has been done at least a thousand other times in hundreds upon hundreds of other movies and your word processor has a spell checker, then you’re good there. If you know a guy who can operate a light switch, because whenever something bad was about to happen in this movie the lights would go out – and stay out - you’re good there too. If you think you can find attractive people in Southern California who have a desire to act to show up in your movie for just a little money, now you have a cast. I’m actually thinking that it would probably be harder to find unattractive actors in Hollywood than cute ones. Now all you need is a guy with a camera and access to a computer with Windows Movie Maker or I-Movie and you’re on your way.

I’m merely saying this in jest here so please don’t follow my movie making plan because as tired as ‘Asylum’ turned out to be, it was at least a competent production. The setup, the characters and the action in this movie was so generic and so paint by numbers that there were times I thought they were playing this for laughs, but alas, they were as serious as a heart-attack in this flick. After the movie went on a while, I got the feeling that Mr. Ellis and his crew realized what they were creating and simply rushed everything to get this the hell over with.

I suppose I shouldn’t have come into this movie with the expectations I had, but what can I say, I expected more from the director of ‘Snakes on a Plane’. Without one single fresh idea, one notable interesting concept and nary a lick of originality, ‘Asylum’ is probably something you can watch in 16x speed and still get the full effect of what it has to offer.

Real Time Web