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Asylum - horror DVD review
ASYLUM Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 stars
Actors: Sarah Roemer, Mark Rolston, Jake Muxworthy, Cody Kasch, Ellen Kaufman, Carolina Garcia
Director: David R. Ellis   Studio: MGM
DVD release: 15 July 2008   Runtime: 93 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Surround - Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish)

Maybe it's silly of anyone to expect much from the director of the legendary Snakes on a Plane. Still, to say this film is mediocre is an understatement. There absolutely nothing original about this film. The plot, the characters, the setting, the pacing - everything about it has been rehashed a thousand times in other horror movies. About two minutes in, I almost knew what was going to happen the rest of the movie and, unfortunately, I was right.

After a small child witnesses her crazy dad off himself in the living room, the film jumps forward 15 years. The now young adult Madison (Sarah Roemer) shows up for her first day of college - at the same dorm her brother offed himself the year before.

From here, were are introduced to the Screenwriting 101 handbook of stock college characters. The Horny, Loudmouthed Jock, the Slightly More Sensitive Hunk, the Computer Geek, the Feisty Latina and the Slutty Blonde join our Sensitive Heroine Madison. Let's not forget the Tool of a Dorm Supervisor, the Pain in the Ass Security Guard, and the Weird Electrician Who Seems to Know Too Much. (Note: this must be a VERY small college. After a few other kids are seen during orientation, the campus pretty much seems deserted except for the stock characters mentioned.)

It turns out that our group of freshmen are the first to stay in a newly renovated dorm that used to be (wouldn't you know it?) an insane asylum for teenagers run by a crazy doc who performed lobotomies straight through the eye sockets until the crazy teens rebelled and killed him. (I can see the sales pitch to producers now: "See, we can combine the campus setting for most '80s slasher flicks with the grungy, industrial setting of the Saw and Hostel movies! Two clichés in one!")

After the kids uncover The Truth, they are summarily picked off one by one by the ghost of the doc (who comes off as sort of a cross between Freddy and Pinhead, only not particularly scary). Each kid has a scene where they open up about their childhood traumas so that later the doc can conveniently use their traumas to set up their demise. Not to spoil the movie for you, but if you guessed that Sensitive Heroine Madison and the Slightly More Sensitive Hunk would be the last two standing, you would be right.

The film has some good sets and production values, but honestly, that's like me saying "she has a nice personality" if I were describing a blind date. I really can't offer a good reason to see this film. There's nothing here a horror fan hasn't seen before. It is also poorly acted and, worst of all, not the least bit scary. There have been some very good horror films made recently that I recommend, such as Inside, The Descent, even Funny Games (though I have some issues with that one). If you ever catch me watching Asylumagain, you'll know I've gone insane.

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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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