“Asylum of Darkness”
Movie 1 – 2017 31-Days of Horror
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Dwight wakes up as a patient in a psychiatric hospital, he cannot remember what he did to be admitted. He insists he is innocent. Once he escapes he finds a sinister, supernatural world outside the hospital. Although he may be able to escape the asylum, he can’t escape his own insanity.
Writer/director Jay Woelfel creates a fascinating world rich with mystery leaving the viewer questioning whether they are watching something supernatural or the protagonist’s uncontrolled madness. There is a lot happening in the story, you don’t quite know what is real and what isn’t. Mostly, it works well and keeps the audience engaged, despite usual indicators of a low budget film.
It was a little slow in drawing me in, largely due to the music. Woelfel’s direction style, being a composer, relied heavily on a lot of music, to the point, in some scenes, of drowning out the dialogue and even the story. Perhaps it’s more of an editing/sound thing, regardless, it occasionally felt as if the score was more important than the dialogue in telling the story.
I’m always a fan of Tiffany Shepis; Amanda Howell, as Ellen Finch, did an admirable job; and Tim Thomerson makes any film better, however brief his screen time is; but Frank Jones, Jr. as Van Gogh, though still a relatively small role, was a bright star in this. Richard Hatch, as Dr. Shaker, really steals every scene though. This appears to be the last film released prior to his death earlier this year, and what a performance! This film may not be perfect, but Richard’s Hatch’s performance was spectacular.
If you’re a fan of low budget, indie horror that makes you think a little bit, this might be for you.