Found Footage movies seem to LOVE a mental asylum horror story. I think this is probably down to the success of the awesome Grave Encounters a few years back.
The Asylum is a 2012 release by independent film producers ‘Enter Viral Media’ and can be found online to view for FREE. I recently watched another release by this production group named Dance With The Devil and I quite enjoyed it.
Let’s take a look at how enjoyable this offering was…
I don’t want to sound like an arrogant dick but first impressions of horror films tend to count for a lot ( in my book! ). Sometimes this works in my favor – sometimes it does not!
The first minutes of The Asylum gave me a very professional feel overall. The opening credits seemed the like they had been carefully constructed by the production crew and worked flawlessly on the screen.
These opening credits were also backed up by a spooky soundtrack that gave the impression of a decent amount of care over the filmmaking audio. Things were looking pretty good at this point!
But this particular mental asylum horror story flattered to deceive – mistakes started to raise their ugly head and the whole thing became a bit of an amateur mess…
We start off with a rather young looking historian explaining to the camera that he is going to be researching the Fairview Training Center. This training center is apparently an abandoned asylum.
For some unknown reason the government have blocked off this asylum area and are now patrolling it on a daily basis.
It turns out this young historian has got hold of blueprints of the facility online ( top secret my ass! ) and he has discovered a tunnel system providing safe passage into the asylum.
He intends to travel these tunnels with two of his friends to find out what is going on inside this strange abandoned facility…
All Over The Place!
This is the moment this mental asylum horror story starts to crumble. Straight after our young historian has finished talking we are taken into a second ‘start’ to the film!
All of a sudden we are provided with your typical Found Footage opening titles basically telling us what our young friend has just told us:
“Fairview Training Center closed in 1975 after over fifty years of malpractice were discovered”
Sounds good so far right?
“By mid 1976 the entire facility was abandoned, including the entire 2,375 acre property and 24 buildings averaging more than 25,000 square feet each”
Alarm bells start ringing as I notice the script writer seems to be a little partial to the word ‘entire’…
“In 1980 the grounds were sealed of by the government, with the threat of felony fines and imprisonment for any trespassers”
At this point I am REALLY wanting the film to start but hold on…
“A rumored underground network of tunnels is now the only entrance to the asylum”
There is actually more than that but I stopped reading and taking notes due to the fact I was losing the will to live!
In the last title screen above somebody had actually managed to misspell both ‘underground’ AND ‘entrance’. Now I’m no Charles Dickens but come on guys – bad grammar at the start of the film?
I get that this is an independent horror film but there are some things that are just plain unforgivable!
At first the three boys who played the main characters seemed comfortable enough and confident enough in their roles to make this believable. This seemed to change as the film ‘stumbled’ along from one amateur filmmaking mess to another.
By the time we are half way through the film it seems as if the lads have no patience with one another at all – it’s as if they have only just met!
The guy controlling the camera feels the need to put ‘supposedly’ into every other line he speaks whilst his two friends freak out at the sight of empty rooms and rusty pipes.
Things do pick up a little when the traditional spooky footsteps and distant screams come into play but it was not enough to save the film.
If you are thinking the ending may save the day then think again I’m afraid – it was piss poor! It was then backed up by another ending title screen which boasted more bad grammar ( how many people do you know that can’t spell ‘vehicle’? ).
I’m all for giving independent horror projects a fair go on this site but I have to be truthful at the same time. This is one mental asylum horror story that didn’t need to be told!