Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
David R. Ellis
What's it about
This one is about a group of kids who are staying at a college dorm, a dorm which used to be an insane asylum. The main character's brother committed suicide after her father did due to insanity. The rest all have a major hang-up too. Soon they all start dying when the mad doctor who used to axe kids up makes a grand return.
Is it good movie?
This movie is stupid and essentially has very little going for it unless you're a 15 year old. Have you ever seen Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors? If so, please don't watch this film. It reeks of NOES lore, right down to the oppressed rising up and taking the law into their own hands to create the anti-hero.
Playing out like an NBC direct-to-video Halloween spookfest, Asylum pulls no punches and tries to be like the OC-meets-Girl, Interrupted-meets-Freddy and doesn't succeed very well. First of all, these kids meet up at their new school and run into one another. There are about 6 of them. Why are there only 6 students staying in this new dorm? The dorm has been renovated and opened after 30 years of being closed down. After about 10 minutes, the hacker character manages to literally hack into the security system and find an ancient relic of a spooky room full of the evil doctor's old stuff. Are you kidding me? Why would that still be there?
On top of all this, there isn't even 1 second of footage that shows these kids are going to class. You never see it. All the footage shows the kids in the dorm room at all times. And the characters are just terrible, too. Aside from the main character, they are all stereotypes: the jock, the nerd, the tough girl, the slut, and so on. Some might argue that they're deeper characters because a point comes for each where you find out their terrible 'poor me' secret that manifests as insecurity. I argue that the only reason these characters explain their past tragedies is so the doctor can carve them up that way, like the former fat kid getting his mouth carved up and stuff.
The deaths are cool, nice and gory, but they don't make a lot of sense. Is this long-dead doctor real? Are they dreaming up these weird situations where the characters are back home and then their worst fear confronts them? There's just a lot that isn't explained. The Doctor character is well played by Mark Rolston, and he constantly spouts his catchphrase of 'give me your suffering' or some such nonsense, but there just isn't enough bang for your buck to believe in him. And as is always the case, he dies when a character spouts an equally stupid catchphrase and then seems to kill him in a very ordinary way.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and has a clean and clear transfer, the best part of the DVD for sure.
Audio I believe comes in Dolby 5.1, but is an unremarkable track with some rear-heavy sound effects.
None on my disc.
Ultimately this movie will pass quietly like a ship in the night. Effects are okay and I think the cast is trying, but nothing makes this movie memorable. I think they were going for a franchise here, and that's just not going to work either. There's just too much stupid for me to enjoy the proceedings here.