06th May2015

‘The Asylum’ DVD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Stephen Lang, Brett Dier, Brittany Curran, Kevin Chapman, Gage Golightly, Kelly Blatz, Jenny Shakeshaft, Meredith Prunty, Ashley Tramonte, Nick Nicotera, Jeff Gum, Adam Teper, Keith Arem, Aaron Dorsey, Karina Junker | Written by Marcus Nispel, Kirsten Elms | Directed by Marcus Nispel


During a party in an abandoned asylum, teenagers perform an occult ritual that leads to a violent possession. After they become trapped in the building, they try to uncover the asylum’s dark past to survive.

As stories go, especially horror stories, ‘stuck in an insane asylum’ is one we seem to want to go back to again and again. You think the cow has been milked dry but then another bunch of teenagers stumble into a crumbling ruin and end up finding that all the doors have been locked whilst they weren’t paying attention. The Asylum gives you what you would expect, but in fact it gives you so much of what you would expect that it becomes unexpected.

That sentence got a little confused, so let me explain…

The makers of The Asylum don’t flinch at all as they pile more and more horror clichés onto your body, until you are nothing more than a twitching slop of mush. Sorry it’s a bit graphic, but it’s true. You will find yourself nodding at the familiar as a possessed girl does that uncomfortable crab walk thing or someone shouts “The power of Christ compels you!” during an exorcism, but among all this familiar, The Asylum keeps it feeling fresh and shiny.

It looks good too. It doesn’t feel cheap or fake at any point, and that really helps ramp up the scares. As plots go, The Asylum doesn’t bring anything new to the table. That being said, I still found myself entertained and, if you have a rather twisted sense of humour like I do, you will find yourself giggling at points. The result of this is a film which, even in the moments where demons aren’t running rampant, keeps a solid pace and doesn’t drag.

This film does suffer from that horror film problem where characters seem to blurt out far more exposition than we need (Yes, we got that the building is an asylum where insane people were held, you told us that exact same thing at the start of the film) but as flaws go, that’s not a major one.

The Asylum is like a favourite old car with a new paint job. Inside it is still the same, but on the outside it looks new and sparkly and it is still just as much fun to drive. Worth a watch if you’re looking for a good, solid horror film.

The Asylum is out now on DVD from Studiocanal.


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