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Reviews & Ratings for
Asylum More at IMDbPro »

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24 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

"Give Me Your Suffering"

Author: Slickflix from United States
23 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My oh my. I've been looking forward to this movie for quite some time. I recall it filming back in 2006, and was looking forward to a release sometime in 2007. Slasher movie set in a college dorm. Pretty interesting. And I really dug David R. Ellis' last 3 films. Well, as of this writing, March 2008, the film has yet to be released theatrically, and doesn't even have a date set yet. Now that I've seen the movie, I can see why. This baby has direct to DVD written all over it. If this actually gets a theatrical release, I'll eat my hat. Where to begin?

"Asylum" is horrendously written. I would be surprised if this Ethan Lawrence has actually SEEN a horror movie. I hope he has his film-making license revoked. This film felt like one awful collection of slasher clichés.

1. Cast of formulaic characters out of any B-Slasher. The main girl, her nice boyfriend, the nerd, the jock, the slut, the tough chick, the mean Resident Assistant. I assure you, you already know who will live and who will die before the movie even begins.

2. Typical inept security guards. Also the clichéd old man who warns the kids that their dorm is haunted and that they're doomed.

3. Crazy killer who murders teens as revenge for being killed 50 years ago.

That's just the beginning. The "Script" is riddled with many more problems. EXPOSITION GALORE. Each of the main characters has a brainless troubled back-story which they proceed to explain for 5 minutes each.

"Yada yada, my father used to molest me".

"Yada yada, I used to be a druggie".

"Yada yada, I used to be obese".

"Yada yada, I've always been too awkward to make friends".

"Yada yada, my boyfriend used to beat me".

I'm not making any of this up. If someone can explain to me what the main girl's back-story (the films opening) had to do with ANYTHING, please let me know. Talk about pointless. To make it worse, when the killer confronts each of his victims, the character finds themselves suddenly transported to a place where they suffered years ago. They'll proceed to say something idiotic like, "My old bedroom, how did I get in here?! This has to be a hallucination!"

This is the kind of garbage that used to fly, say, 20 years ago in your typical "Nightmare on Elm Street" sequel. Speaking of which, the villain here is nothing but a Freddy Kruger rip-off. Mad doctor who does gruesome experiments on his teen patients. They revolt and kill him. 50 years later his ghost is murdering the teens using the old Asylum as a dormitory. Although the guy was NEVER burned, his ghost still has gross flesh burns all over. Sometimes he kills people in their dreams, but sometimes his ghost just shows up in the dorm. The man's development is beyond pathetic.

And don't get me started on the atrocious dialogue. Being a college student myself, I can assure you that this garbage is better suited for an 80's teen sex comedy. The clichéd hero girl has all the predictable traits. Tragic past, scary visions, she finds the dead body which disappears when she brings the cops. Everyone thinks she is crazy. And despite being big enough to house several hundred students, the only people ever in the dorm are the same 7 "victims". I dare you not to giggle at the "Day to night transitions", which are all the same stock footage of the exterior of the building with a spooky sky.

Anything good to say about the flick? Sure. The whole thing is pretty well shot, with some smooth camera movements and intense colors. The main cast is all appealing too. Unfortunately the material they're given is garbage. I really enjoyed Sarah Roemer in "Disturbia", she's cute and likable. I hope she starts choosing her roles better or she'll find herself stuck in DTV limbo. Also, the guy that plays Dr. Burke hams it up pretty well. Too bad he has stupid likes like "Give me your suffering". He also gives dim-witted monologues as he tortures people about how this is curing their agony. Bah! Watching this movie is torture enough. There is some OK gore, but nothing very exciting – about on par with an episode of CSI.

Overall, the situation speaks for itself. This movie is pretty mediocre, and has ZERO chance of success theatrically. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets a straight to DVD debut sometime near the end of the year. I suppose if you catch it on TV one day, it might be worth checking out. But don't go out of your way.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Cliché Cliché Cliché

Author: Dave (freaky_dave) from United States
23 July 2008

I wasn't expecting anything when I saw this movie for free. If I would've had to pay for it I wouldn't have watched it in the first place. The story copies everything from other horror movies. This one feels mostly like Nightmare on Elm Street though, but done incompetently. You have the usual stereotypes, and none of them can act well enough to make you care about them. One of the things I did like at first was the rapid dialog. I found it hysterical at first because it seemed almost natural the way it was spoken, but then it becomes totally repetitive and soon falls apart when the killer finally shows up. And when I say falls apart, I mean it for all the characters. I think maybe the director realized he was just making another useless horror movie and decided to stop caring.

This movie had cliché written all over it. All the ideas have been done to death, and the director offers nothing more to the table to make it work in anyway. THe killer was laughable as was most of this movie. I would not recommend this pile of Pooh to anyone.

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19 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

I Would Like to Give My Suffering for Watching This Movie

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 September 2008

The teenager Madison McBride (Sarah Roemer) is traumatized by the loss of her deranged father when she was nine year–old and the suicide of her beloved brother Brandon one year ago. She decides to join the Richard Miller University, where Brandon committed suicide, to overcome her demons. While walking to her dorm, she meets the weird janitor Wilbur Mackey (Joe Inscoe) that tells her that the place is haunted. Madison befriends the recovering drug addicted Holt (Jake Muxworthy); the geek outcast String (Cody Kasch); the sexually abused Ivy (Ellen Hollman) and Maya (Carolina Garcia); and the joker athlete Tommy (Travis Van Winkle). All the schoolmates have traumas and the veteran Rez (Randall Sims) is responsible for them. String discovers in Internet that in 1935, their dorm together with an attached abandoned section was an asylum administrated by Dr. Magnus Burke (Mark Rolston) and considered a safe refugee for troubled teenagers with state-of-art treatment. However, in 1939, the interns uprose against the insane doctor, killing and disclosing the truth about his treatment. Sooner they find that their dorm is haunted by Dr. Burke that is seeking for tortured souls.

The lame "Asylum" is a forgettable collection of clichés that do not frighten or make laugh. The villain Dr. Burke slightly recalls Freddy Krueger with his sharp blades and bringing nightmarish memories to his victims. The characters are destroyed the same way they appear, without any development or care with the consequences. In accordance with the story, Mackey was eleven year-old in 1939. Therefore, in 2007, he would be seventy-nine year-old, still working and in an excellent shape. In the end, I would like to give my suffering for watching this terrible movie. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "Asylum – Não Estamos Sozinhos" ("Asylum – We Are not Alone")

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Should Have Excelled, Ended up Average

Author: chris dimarino from Canada
2 March 2012

Looking back on Asylum, it did a lot of things well. The mood was set right, the viewer was able to get familiar with the group of teens before they go, and the deaths were deep and interesting. However I had the vibe during and after the movie that it was not above average. A few more big name actors could've helped. Also the story is forced on you, a little unbelievable and makes no ammends.

Asylum does a good job of setting up a scary plot. They are college students who are living in a dorm that was once an insane asylum run by a doctor who was killed by his patients for his brutal techniques. The deaths were very well thought out. The mood emanates very well and there are plenty of scary moments.

The biggest problem with asylum was the linear, predictable and unforgiving and under explained plot. A little twist here and a cliff hanger there really would've helped. The acting was good for a horror movie, but no one really stuck. Maybe if there was a little more focus on the main character and a bigger named actress it may have stuck more.

I would recommend this movie to any horror movie fan. It's not great but will have at least a couple parts you admire. If anything at the end you wont be upset you watched it.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

by the numbers and too dark

Author: pmcguireumc from United States
9 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, I am getting sick of the recent trend in horror movies - that of every film being a Rembrandt picture (that is, no source of light and the background being all black). Between "The Descent", "The Ruins", and "Asylum", I have not been able to see what was happening on the screen in a long time.

That being said, based on what i could hear of this film, i didn't miss much. If you took out the F word, the script would have been about 10 pages with narratives reading, "characters show up. meet each other. some you like some you don't. bad things happen. characters run through darkness. lights go out. creepy doctor appears. run. lots of unnecessarily gory deaths. meet background character who appears to know back story. run. defeat bad guy. semi-happy resolution. final pointless scare." oh for the days of "the Friday the 13th series". it is sad when Jason is the barometer of good quality. the bad part is, they don't even meet the Jason quota of nudity and deaths.

the only thing that saves this is some witty dialogue in the beginning during the orientation scenes. otherwise, pointless and too damn dark. did i mention how unnecessarily dark it is?

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ellis is a hack director

Author: Matt Kracht ( from New York
11 August 2012

When given a good script and actors, Ellis can make half decent, watchable movies, but I think he's basically doomed to make derivative, highly clichéd horror movies for the next ten years, with most of them probably going direct-to-video, before fading into deserved obscurity.

Asylum is an annoying pastiche of past horror movies, drawing most of its influence from Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street. It's populated by tired stereotypes (the jock, the nerd, the slut, the weird girl, etc) who dutifully recite their two minutes of back story prior to their grisly death. Yes, it's nice to find any degree of back story whatsoever in a low budget horror movie, but the writing is so terrible and the characters are all so annoying that I just wanted them all to just shut up.

The special effects and gore were fairly well done, which might make up for the terrible writing and directing, if you're obsessed with slasher movies. If all you want out of a movie is to see annoying, stereotypical teens butchered by a ghost, then you could do worse than this movie, but I'm not sure why you would waste your time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Nightmare on Campus on Haunted Hill

Author: tex-42
27 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you saw the late 90s movie, House on Haunted Hill, this movie will seem oddly familiar. An asylum is run by a doctor/mad man who tortures his patients until they revolt and kill him. As is often the case, the asylum is later turned into a college dorm. However, one wing has yet to be converted and thankfully remains filled with scary asylum stuff and the murderous ghost of the doctor.

We then meet our characters, and it's like The Breakfast Club meets Nightmare on Elm Street. Every kids fits a cliché and has a back story that sets up how they will be killed. It will take you about five seconds to figure out who survives. As one would expect, the students are picked off one by one and we end up with our heroes v. the murderous ghost doctor. I won't spoil it for you as to what happens. Suffice it to say, it's completely expected.

Asylum isn't a good movie, and its made worse by the fact that it feels like everyone from the writers to the cast just gave up at some point. The horrors here are not original, the storyline feels like someone literally fed a bunch of different horror movies into a typewriter and even the people we are supposed to root for aren't all that interesting. In short, use this film as a way to make yourself appreciate better movies.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

a lame entry into the already inundated 'teen scream' sub-genre

Author: movieman_kev from United States
15 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Madison McBride (Sarah Roemer from Disturbia & Fired Up) has been newly enrolled in Richard Miller University despite the protestations of her mother. It seems the university used to be an controversial mental institution specializing in teenagers. Her and a few other teens residing in her dormitory decide to check out the abandoned section of the school. But seeing as all the new resident's have had 'troubled pasts' the ghost of the doctor of the aforementioned asylum decides to 'cure' them.

This is a typically awful 'teen scream' flick with the requisite bland teenagers. This, in itself, didn't really surprise me as Director David Ellis seems to specialize in this kind of generic fare, having done Final Destination 2, Cellular & the recent the final destination 3-D) The sad thing is, is that the plot did have some potential but it was just handled so overwhelmingly badly that the film comes across as trite, badly acted & lifeless. If it wasn't readily available on Instant Netflix which i simply streamed on my Xbox 360 I doubt I would have bothered with it at all.

Eye Candy: Sarah Roemer provides some fairly quick T&A)

My Grade: D-

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not a bad horror film, part ghost story, part slasher.

Author: Jan Strydom from South Africa
2 January 2010

I found ASYLUM sitting on a shelf at the local DVD store, I didn't know a thing about this movie but that hasn't stopped me before, I rented it, took it home, popped it in the player and as the pre-credits rolled I noticed two familiar names, one was that of the producer Ashok Amritaj whose other credits in the horror genre includes a more popular film called TRICK'R'TREAT and the second was David R. Ellis whose credits include FINAL DESTINATION 2 and 4 and CELLULAR, so I reckoned this film should either be interesting or it should really suck since I never heard of it.

The film turned out to be good after all, it wasn't something I would tell everyone about, it starts off as a ghost story setting up the mood developing the characters but later it turns more into a slasher and of course you get the usual set of clichés, but on the plus side the characters are of course your typical young teen slasher types but some of them are actually likable (halelluja a slasher with likable characters) it features pretty good cinematography that succeeds in creating atmosphere, it has a pretty cool villain that reminds me a bit of Freddy Kreuger and it doesn't resort to showcasing a bunch of tits and ass to make up for its poor script, although the script isn't that poor but its not that great either.

In way after watching this film I also thought if people wanted to know how would A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET be if it was brought out today, I would say just watch this film and I'm mainly saying that because of the villain of the story who preys on his victims fears, Freddy also preys on his victims fears but he does it through their dreams, I might be wrong but that's what I think.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Flawed, but enjoyable, asylum horror

Author: Anthony Pittore III (Shattered_Wake) from Los Angeles, CA
27 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Freshman Madison (Sarah Roemer of Disturbia) at a small university learns that her dormitory was once the home of an infamous mental institution known for its unsavoury practices on its patients. As the paranormal occurrences increase (including her weird hallucinations), Madison must unlock the secret of her haunted dorm to save herself and her new friends.

As a hound for 'asylum' horror, I decided to check this new flick out as soon as possible. At this point, I'm used to the unoriginal plots in asylum horror. It's usually either an unknown patient in a non-patient role, or an insane doctor, or the ghosts of the past, etc. So, I've come to expect the normal amount of clichés in this subgenre. And, while Asylum had a few more than normal as it also adopted the clichés of children's psychology and college horror, I could look past them. In addition to the clichéd writing, the dialogue, though great for a couple of the characters, is annoying for some of the others, especially the overly sexy Ivy (Ellen Hollman) and the Stiffler-wannabe Tommy (Travis van Winkle (heh)). What I do like about Tommy, however, is that he actually is likable when he becomes insecure. . . but, when he turns back on, annoying as hell. The story moves well, but takes almost no risks to separate it from the countless other films like it. There are some fairly creepy moments (doctors looming in shadows, the decrepit asylum hall, etc.) and the kills are pretty fantastic, and these are what makes it worth the 94 minutes (although the last 10 or so are laughably cheesy). Also, any cameo by Lin Shaye is worthy of a watch. Especially one as hilarious as this. Overall, the film is made up of a mediocre script and unremarkable actors, but also a beautiful setting and some good gore & kills. It's Ellis's direction that helps to make the film the slightly above average thriller than it ends up being. I can recommend a rental for those looking for a modern slasher without much thinking necessary.

Final verdict: 6/10.

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