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Asylum Of The Damned (2003)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Genres:
Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Philip J. Jones Philip J. Jones
Starring:
Bruce Payne Bruce Payne
Matt Stasi Matt Stasi
Tracy Scoggins Tracy Scoggins
Julia Lee Julia Lee
Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Tommy 'Tiny' Lister

3.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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James Bishop is a young psychology resident, excited about his new job at St. Andrews Mental Hospital and the chance to help severely ill patients. The excitement changes to puzzlement, concern and finally terror as some of those patients mysteriously die and James' efforts to find the cause results in increasingly strange behavior from the St. Andrews staff. Things begin to clarify when James finally encounters the Harvester... --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: October 17, 2004
James Bishop (Matt Stasi) is fresh out of college, and looking to get an internship at a local insane asylum so that he can later move on to a nicer hospital to work at. He starts his work up under the watch of Dr. McCorty (Bruce Payne), the head doctor at this asylum. Right from the start, James is put off by Dr. McCorty's uncaring attitude towards the inmates of the asylum, but the doctor rationalizes his actions based on the fact that the inmates are here due to their heinous crimes; murderers, rapists, and pedophiles make up the ranks at this asylum. James still doesn't like his attitude, but stays with the company due to wanting to move on to a better life later on down the road, and he sees this internship as his ticket to said life. After finding an inmate dead with some bizarre burns on his chest, James attempts to call the police in to investigate; however, Dr. McCorty will have none of that, and covers the whole situation up. James decides to do some investigating, and with the help of inmates Smithy (Tom 'Tiny' Lister Jr.) and Hadley (Gregory Wagrowski), he finds out about a hell-spawned demon in the basement that is preying on the inmates here. James runs away from the scene to gather up some proof about the happenings at this asylum and is just about to leave, when his fiancée Helen (Tracy Scoggins) shows up to make a surprise visit. Making the situation even worse, the electricity is now screwed up in the place, meaning that all of the electrical doors are locked tight.

The storyline here, put out at a summary level, comes off as being pretty damned interesting, to me at least. However, put into the hands of this director and cast, the result is one barely watchable piece of crap. There's times where too much attention and time is placed on something that has absolutely no point in the overall scheme of things, which results in one of three emotions springing up; eighty percent of the time, boredom pops out due to the complete void of entertainment going on at the time. That's bad enough, but then there's the ten percent of the time when it's anger, due to some interesting events that start up but are completely dropped and forgotten about with no explanation. Finally, there's a bit of the confusion emotion when characters are thrown into the storyline with no introduction whatsoever. Had this script had a massive edit to remove unnecessary scenes and resolve the unfinished ones, we may have had something halfway decent... but with the way the final product ended up, I couldn't see myself recommending this to anyone.

Things may have been a bit better if the cast had been halfway decent, but again, quality is missing from this movie. Matt Stasi (James) comes off as a cheap imitation of Keanu Reeves, but with a fraction of Reeves' acting ability. Stasi's face looks like a carbon copy of Reeves, which I'm sure couldn't be helped too much... but thrown in with a similar hairstyle, the same facial expressions and the same way of talking, I find it hard to believe that this was a coincidence. Giving the man some credit, it's obvious that he was trying to put out a quality performance, but in this film, he just didn't have it to give. With some more practice under his belt and a dumping of the Reeves' look, things could get better for him. Bruce Payne (Dr. McCorty) is more tolerable, but just barely. While he doesn't pull out any celebrity impersonations here, he comes off as being very unconvincing in his role of the evil doctor and instead, comes off as a complete jackass. Maybe that's what they were going for, who knows. To wrap this part up, I'll say this: a movie is in bad shape when a bit-part played by Tiny Lister (the cross-eyed black guy from "No Holds Barred", which featured Hulk Hogan in the lead role) brings about the best performance.

The tag-line on the DVD cover exclaims that this movie is "from the special effects creators of Jeepers Creepers". I was a fan of the look of the Creeper, so I thought that things would be nice in that department, at least. Mistaken again, I certainly was. The demon actually did resemble the cover-art in the basic shape, which is a bit shocking; however, the problem with this was the fact that he looked as though he was completely made out of plastic. No fleshy look was given to him, no sort of skin, just a coating of plastic. Helping to bring his quality down was the fact that his eyes were seemingly powered by two red Christmas bulbs, in an effect that would barely beat out a jack-o-lantern in special effects magic. I won't even touch on the extremely lame CGI lighting-bolts he shot out from his fingers.

This one isn't worth the time to download, and it certainly isn't worth a rental. I will throw it a few points for a decent storyline, even though it was screwed up in the transaction from script to actors. 3/10.
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