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Marcus Nispel has had an interesting career thus far. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the guy’s style. Although uneven, his remakes of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003) and FRIDAY THE 13 (2009) looked morbidly fantastic while PATHFINDER (2007) sported the bleakness and Frank Frazetta influences that his “way too colorful” CONAN (2011) should have had. It took 4 years for Nispel to pump out another flick after the Box Office failure of his (underrated in my book) take on the Cimmerian Barbarian. So was this low budget horror dish worth the chow down?
Although there wasn’t an original bone in THE ASYLUM’s body (formerly known as Backmask and Exeter) and it was a bit all over the place, the flick wound up being a lot of trashy fun! Think NIGHT OF THE DEMONS meets SESSION 9 and you’ll get a good idea as to what you’re in for from this basterd! I dug the film’s attitude, which was akin to a rebellious teenager who simply doesn’t give a flying f*ck! Nispel’s visuals were a mix of kinetic and down and dirty, the flick pimped out an affable death metal soundtrack (you don’t hear that in a film every day now of late) that upped the “F.U.” vibe of the film and although of the stock variety; the teens here were more endearing than the norm. Brittany Curran (as the cute Goth-ish chick), Brett Dier (as the funny a-hole), Gage Golightly (as the fun loving slut), Kelly Blatz (as the straight laced guy) and Michael Ormsby (as the kid, who reminded me of the brat in The Lost Boys) all owned it and brought some credibility to the proceedings. They came off as “real” teenagers not the token barf inducing “Hollywood” version of a teenager. Adult wise, Stephen Lang (who also played the villain in Nispel’s Conan) showed up here long enough to class the flick up! Good shit!
Once the film established its setting and its “typical” horror characters – it took a u-turn, cranked up the self awareness and wound up being funnier than expected. Next thing you know BAM, we have a comedy on our hands (loved that Deer Hunter Russian roulette homage) and I swear for about 15 minutes the flick felt like The Goonies but with older kids and in a more ummm…drastic predicament. I didn’t see that vibe coming! At all! And once the picture was done with that tone, it threw all care for the humans out the window, slammed the pedal to the floor and became an all out gorefest, gunning out a handful of creative, outlandish and grisly kills! As the end credits rolled, I couldn’t say that the THE ASYLUM blew me away but I had to admit in getting some cheap kicks out of it.
On the flip-side the dialogue was often inane (or deliciously crassy), the “rules” of the film inconsistent, dumb moves to serve the plot were ample (yeah lets go eons away to take that leak), that fat dude with long hair character felt like he belonged in another movie and that twist at the end was not only unnecessary but dense as this drivel that I am writing! On that, all of that didn’t really matter. This was a dumb-f*ck beers and pizza horror movie if I’ve ever seen one and that’s the only way to take the film! You in or you out? Your move! Â