Its 3:43 pm
cloudy and humid
One thing I really like about films are the bonus sections,you can learn a lot about how the film was made,what process the director uses to tell a story,the actors explaining how they approached the material,etc…
Before I watched “Asylum”,I watched the 8 minute “Making of” feature and heard Jay Woelfel,the writer and director of the movie,comment how he doesn’t like indie films who copy bigger blockbuster/studio films,he rather be ambitious in his film making.
With that in mind,the cheetah and I sat back and watched “Asylum of Darkness” which was delivered by Wild Eye Releasing.
“After awakening in a mental asylum, a patient plans an escape to freedom, but finds an even more disturbing, supernatural world on the outside, one that threatens to keep him trapped in madness forever.”
Poor Dwight,he is stuck in a sanitarium. He believes he is quite sane even if he can’t recall events in his past or the fact he sees his doctor as a monster,gets visited by a beautiful girl everyday in his dreams who Dwight calls Hope and believes a fellow patient whom he calls “Van Gogh” can paint pictures of the future.
Dwight feels so strongly about leaving and he does escape one night in the most bungling way ever caught on film. When he attempts to get a car to slow down to get a ride,he causes an accident and Dwight being the nice insane person he is,tries to help the the poor driver who instead chooses to stay in his burning car and so dies.
Dwight takes the man’s wallet and keys and goes to his house where for some reason,everyone assumes he is the man who died and that guy was a serious ass.
Is it real or is Dwight insanity gathering steam? He sees faceless people (who look like they escaped “Silent Hill”) and has weird twisting dreams. What Dwight doesn’t know is that he in fact HAS swapped bodies as when someone is close to death and there is a someone close by,a swap can occur. But now other creatures who know that Dwight has assumed the other’s life are coming for him.
As the darkness mounts,Dwight grows closer to Ellen,who hated what has husband had become,a drunk and a woman chaser. She treats Dwight with disdain at first but as the movie progresses,she seems to start to come around.
The only problem is that we the viewer are never sure if what we are watching is real or just part of Dwight’s insanity.
Quite honestly,Woelfel is guilty of his own ambition,he had tried way to too hard into making such a complex mystery that he has locked himself into a clothes dryer without telling anyone. The confusion in “Asylum” is doesn’t know what it wants to be,an avant garde art house commentary on mental health,a dark comedy,a straight up horror film,sci-fiction? Who knows and because its so cluttered and at 2 hours,so long,we just didn’t care anymore. You can have multiple story lines and plot twists but when your main story is lost a third of the way and you never bring it back,why……that’s insane!!
So no,the cheetah and I didn’t like “Asylum of Darkness” at all story wise. But of course you know we did find parts we liked….the make up effects were very good and effective.
The faceless creatures did instantly bring ‘Silent Hill” in mind but that is a good thing because “face” it,that is a great look for a supernatural/figment of imagination creature.
It was nice to see some well known genre faces like Richard Hatch (R.I.P.) from Battlestar Galactica,Tim Thomerson from “Doll Man” and “Trancers” and the lovely Tiffany Shepis from a movie we need to review here soon,”Wrath of the Crows”.
The relatively unknowns tried their best,Nick Baldasare played Dwight a little to dry,I think he needed just a bit more confusion and fear. Rubbing a hand across the face isn’t a sign of “hey look,I’m insane!!”
Amanda Howell as Ellen the wife was pretty strong,her disdain towards her “husband” seemed quite real and organic. She and Frank Jones,Jr,who plays “Van Gogh” were easily the best actors other then Hatch as Dr. Shaker. Extra props to Hatch who wore a lot of creature make-up for his role.
I love a good score for a movie,in fact a good score can save a so-so film if the music is strong and effective. Sadly, Woelfel also did the music for Asylum of Darkness and it shows because it is dreadful. The music is jarring and completely distracting and when your film is already sliding down the “Seattle Superstorm” slope,a bad score is not what you want to hear.
While the cheetah and I may have disliked “Asylum”,that doesn’t you will. For those of you who say “Paladin and Mike may be wrong about this one,after all….it does have Tiffany Shepis in it!!!” and want to check it out,you can buy a copy by going to the Wild Eye Releasing website.
“Asylum” has a run time of two hours and special features include a “Making Of” feature and deleted scenes.
Have you seen “Asylum of Darkness”? If so,drop us your thoughts on it,we would love to hear from you!!