Written by Ethan Lawrence
Directed by David R. Ellis
Madison McBride...Sarah Roemer
Tommy...Travis Van Winkle
Dr. Burke...Mark Rolston
A group of horror movie stereotypes--the pretty girl, the troubled girl, the geek, the jock, the loner, etc.--discover that their new college dormitory was once the site of an insane asylum for trouble teenagers. Dr. Burke, the quack that ran the place, had a sick and twisted idea of therapy: simultaneous dual lobotomies performed by shoving picks through the eye sockets of rowdy patients and scraping out all of the bad thoughts.
Not exactly enlightened, but not exactly that far off from the real "medical miracles" of the day, either.
The patients, deciding that enough was enough, staged an uprising and murdered the mad doctor. All these years later, the creepy old maintenance man seems to think that the dorm is haunted, and he may not be all that far off. Multiple members of the stereotype troop suffer from waking hallucinations that are reminiscent of the more restrained dream sequences of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, slightly spiced up with a Dr. Giggles-like character. Casper he ain't. The ghost of Dr. Burke is quick to judge, quick to diagnose, and quick to kill.
The best I can say about this movie is that I didn't hate it. Of course, I didn't love it either. It was competently shot, competently acted, competently edited. That is to say, it was strictly mediocre, save for a few impressive moments that I wouldn't mind re-watching (especially the lengthy flashback to the asylum's revolution, and a nightmare sequence involving a smart-mouth losing his gift of gab when his tongue is cut out). For the most part, though, it was just run of the mill stuff without any real scares, or anybody to really root for. I didn't give a damn if any of these kids made it out alive.
The major problem with a lot of these lower budget, unheard of horror films is characterization. The filmmakers come up with what they think is a good idea for a movie, populate it with pretty plastic fodder, and then slap the finished product on DVD without putting any thought into making the leads likable. In order for the audience to truly enjoy a horror movie, they have to have some sort of investment either in the heroes or the villains--ideally, in both! But often, as is the case with Asylum, we don't care for the 'good guys' or the 'bad guys' enough to care either way. All we're rooting for is the next bloody scene, and we don't care who it happens to. And when those stop rolling around, we'll be more than happy to take the closing credits.
To the credit of the filmmakers, they did attempt to shatter the stereotype mold of the characters by showcasing each of their hidden secrets--the sex-obsessed jock used to be overweight; the pretty girl is a self-mutilator; etc. But that's really not enough to make you care about the majority of these characters.
An asshole who used to be fat is still an asshole.
The poster proclaims that this is "From The Director of Final Destination 2."
"Give me your suffering, motherfucker!"