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Some nightmares never go away, especially for Laurie Cardell, whose secret is about to end. To the world she is a beautiful actress living the Hollywood Life, but to Daniel, she is the center of the universe. When Daniel's derelict brother, Nathan, is released from jail, his misguided actions cause all the worlds to converge in the dark cavernous rooms of the abounded asylum. For Nathan, his fantasy as a director will hopefully be fulfilled. For Laurie, her childhood nightmares will resurrected. For Daniel, the question to his obsession will be revealed. But for all three, a nightmare that none of them ever expected is about to come to life. Written by
For a highly talented actor, C. Thomas Howell has appeared in more bad movies than Daryl Hannah. A once promising filmography has slowly transformed into a veritable cornucopia of straight-to-video B grade releases. And I, for one, think it's awesome! C. Thomas Howell is doing things his own way and through some strange miracle always turns the most turgid stinker into an enjoyable experience. Having said all that, the man really had his work cut out for him on "Asylum Days".
This film is so ridiculously implausible that it makes other C. Thomas Howell trash epics (Net Games, anyone?) look like Rear Window. A quick run down of the plot goes something like this: Daniel is obsessed with Lori, an actress, and has written a screenplay about her life. When Daniel's psychotic brother, Nathan, gets released from prison, he decides to help further Daniel's film-making ambitions by kidnapping Lori and forcing her to "act" in Daniel's film.
John Waters dealt with a similar theme in his far superior Cecil B. Demented. The major difference being that John Waters is a great director with enough intelligence to turn his film into a comedy, while the hack that made this expects the audience to find it vaguely realistic. Things go from bad to worse when a slasher subplot is tacked on to the end of the film, complete with two ridiculous detectives and possibly the most inane conclusion in cinema history.
As bad as the film is, it is not without it's (guilty) pleasures. C. Thomas Howell throws himself into the role of psycho Nathan and is, in one memorable scene, hilariously vile to Daniel's Indian neighbour. Deborah Zoe spends most of the film looking like Jennifer Garner on Vicodin, but comes alive towards the end of the film to show some promise as a future scream queen. More than anything, I enjoyed the sheer ridiculousness of the film, everything from the poorly handled flashbacks to the lame scenes on the set of Lori's movie shout out "straight-to-video".
Fans of C. Thomas Howell will forgive him for wasting 100 minutes of their life on Asylum Days. I fear that other may not be quite as forgiving.
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