Asylum (2007) Review
Written by: the5thdroog
Going into this one I was hoping for the best. I'm a fan of horror movies that take place inside of institutions and that deal with the psychology of how the mind can break down so easily. I hadn't really heard anything too much about this movie before seeing it, but the title made me think that maybe it would be about one of the two subjects I just mentioned. As the movie began, I realized what I like about movies like this, isn't the same thing David Ellis (the director of this movie) finds as interesting. Too bad.
As the opening credits are rolling, we are treated with some pictures of what it might be like inside the asylum and how patients were treated or mistreated, whatever the case may be. After that we arrive in a little girls room and can hear a commotion coming from somewhere else. The girl sneaks out of her room and on to the top of the stairs where she finds her brother already there. They then watch as an argument between their parents ends with their father saying they only want him and then he shoots himself in the head. Madison (Sarah Roemer) then wakes up inside a car next to her mother who is driving her to college. It will be her first year there. Her mom seems very concerned and asks Madison if she is sure she wants to go through with this. Madison replies with something to the extent of it is the best way for me to get closure.
Madison makes her way around campus and is told of the freshman orientation taking place today. During the meeting she meets five other kids who are in her dorm. They quickly become friends and meet in the lobby of the dorm later. All your stereo-types are here. We have the jock who can't stop talking about how great he is, the computer geek who is very young to be taking on college, the cool kid who seems to have a sensitive side, and of course your girl who likes to think she can sleep with anyone she wants. It is while they are in the lobby that the computer geek, String, talks about how the building they are in used to be an old asylum. They've already been warned that the other building is locked down and off limits, but want to investigate String's story. He tells of how the asylum was used to treat teens only and that the doctor, Dr. Burke, used to stick large sharp needles into the patients eyes as his way of an improvement on the already infamous lobotomy. One day the patients got tired of this and (that's right) revolted. They escaped and the body of the doctor was never recovered. Once the group makes it inside the closed side of the building they find old files and are happy to realize that they have discovered something. Everyone leaves, but Madison is left looking over one of the files and has a flashback about her brother. It seems suicide runs in the family or was it something else that killed her brother. She is discovered by a security guard and when she is back at her dorm she starts seeing visions of the doctor roaming the halls. The kids start disappearing and then we just get to watch the rest of this cookie cutter movie play out.
The acting was nothing special. There were some scenes were I couldn't even bring myself to look at the screen because the lines were delivered so terribly. Lin Shaye did make and appearance, but it was very brief and not enough to save this movie. Always good to see her, though.
There were a few decent effects. I guess with the needles in the eyes thing you'd kind of hope so. Nothing too unnerving or original, but what was there and could be seen was okay. When I think back now though, this seems to be another area where they could've made a difference compared to other movies of this nature, but failed to do so.
The movie was only adult language and a brief shower scene away from a Saturday night Sci-Fi movie. As I said earlier the gore was brief and there were many areas that could've been stepped up. The storyline has been played out and is done just as it has been done many time before, so it makes me wonder what the point was. Nothing in this movie stands out. I've always thought it is fine to do a movie similar to what we've seen before, but do something to make it memorable. Apparently the makers of this film think differently and for that reason this movie easily fades into the background of my mind with so many other movies that just use a generic formula to get a movie done.