The psychiatric intern Clark Stevens comes to Cunningham Hall, a mental healthy facility administrated by Dr. Franks, for a training period before his graduation in medical college. He gets close to the resident Sara and to Ben London, a dangerous patient lodged in cell 44 in the basement of the clinic. Clark becomes intrigued with a boy, who seems to be a ghost, and finds that Dr. Franks does not use real medication in the patients. A further investigation shows hidden dark secrets in the clinic. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Not a better location imaginable to shoot a horror than a mental institution and yet the last really good films revolving on asylums and murdering lunatics date from the 70's, with "Don't Look in the Basement" and "Dark Places". This new film "Madhouse" isn't exactly a masterpiece, neither, but still it's an admirable attempt that makes good use of the ominous clinic setting and even manages to throw in a scary sequence from time to time. Joshua Leonard (one of the twats that got famous after "The Blair Witch Project") stars as the ambitious and idealistic medicine student Clark Stevens, finishing his college years with an internship at the Cunningham Hall clinic. The facilities and methods there are extremely archaic and Clark begins to suspect the administrator, Dr. Franks, of sabotaging the curing processes of his patients. His investigation is interrupted when the clinic's head nurse is brutally murdered by an unknown psycho. With the help of cute nurse Sara and the mysterious patient in cell 44, Clark begins to uncover all the dark secrets of Cunningham Hall clinic. The first hour of "Madhouse" is pretty atmospheric with spooky introductions of the asylum's craziest patients (schizos, nymphs, savages etc...) and a rather impressive collection of typical surgery-tools (a lobotomy, anyone?). After that, however, the script totally stops to make sense and it desperately tries to trick you....without much success, though. The film isn't as gory as you might think but it does contain two or three very nasty sequences and they are effectively done. It could have been a better film but I'm not complaining about the end result too much. Worth a look.
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