Friday, October 16, 2009

Madhouse (2004)


Written by William Butler and Aaron Strongoni
Directed by William Butler

Clark Stephens...Joshua Leonard
Dr. Franks...Lance Henriksen
Sara...Jordan Ladd
Alice...Natasha Lyonne
Carl...Aaron Strongoni
Drake...Christian Leffler

Cunningham Hall Mental Facility is the madhouse in question, an enormous institution that, despite all the talk of how rundown it is, actually looks more like a mansion than a hospital. The main facility houses a number of the less-dangerous patients (including the white trash girl from The Slums Of Beverly Hills, the fat kid from Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf, Too, a patient that thinks he’s a doctor—a gag lifted straight from the Michael Keaton vehicle The Dream Team—, and a filthy nymphomaniac who masturbates furiously while reciting a child’s prayer. Below ground, however, are where the dangerous ones are kept, locked in small, dank cells that make Hannibal Lecter’s digs look downright posh.

Clark Stephens is the brainiac new intern completely shocked by the neglect of “Big Cheese” Dr. Franks, and the abuse of the patients by Drake the security guard and head nurse Annabelle Hendricks. Only hottie nurse Sara seems to share his concerns, and she’s just as helpless to change things as he is.

Strange voices in the night, flickering lights, ghostly children and an urban legend regarding an escaped patient lead Clark to believe that something strange is going on. When Nurse Hendricks is murdered, Dr. Franks believes it to be the work of one of the resident madmen, but Clark takes the words of a patient to heart and believing there is something a bit darker going on. Is it true, or is he just being affected by his surroundings?

While the notion of a haunted hospital is far from new (witness Gothika and The Kingdom), it still remains ripe for exploration and exploitation. America is the land of the unstable and the home of the heavily medicated, after all, and we have a long-standing tradition of loving our psychos. And while the performers all turn in relatively strong performances—especially the great Lance Henriksen—and the film does manage to capture a number of spooky images, the atmosphere lacks a bit and relies a bit too heavily on visual cliches the likes of flickering bulbs. Still, it remains a fun time-killer that keeps you guessing right up to the end, and loses points only for the constant similarities to films we’ve already seen before.

Rated R
91 Minutes
United States

Madhouse is currently ranked #68,176 in DVDs at  Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"Let the insanity begin."

1 comment:

  1. Check out Madhouse (AKA There Was A Little Girl). Awesome in a so bad its good way.


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