Monday, 7 September 2015

The Asylum

 "The Asylum" aka "Exeter" and "Backmask"  (2015, Marcus Nispel, Studio Canal releasing) is one of the films I missed by not attending Glasgow Fright Fest earlier this year. And I have to say, I must be missing something because I didn't think it was really anything special, but I seem to be in the minority here!

We open to a woman committing suicide before we are introduced to the "Exeter School for the feeble minded", an asylum which has been abandoned for some time. The place is about to be renovated by Father Conway (Stephen Lang), but his young friend, Patrick (Kelly Blatz), puts a stopper in the works by being unable to convince his pals not to have a big ol' party in the place. Knowing Exeter School has a dark past, the gang of course decide to play some vinyl backwards and play "light as a feather, stiff as a board", while also drinking, shagging and taking some drugs.... And this brings some demons to the surface who then go all "Evil Dead" on their asses by possessing them one after another.

Now let's get this straight, there are some good things going on in this film. It's a good setting, the kill scenes are admirably gory, very realistic and creative, the demonic effects are effective and the acting is good enough. My main problem with this film was that I was bored and felt like I was watching a remake of several other possession movies merged together.

Whilst it's nigh on impossible to make a possession movie without paying coincidental (or completely on purpose) homage to "The Exorcist", this film felt like they'd also lifted chunks of scene from "Evil Dead", "Night of the Demons" and many other possessed-teen films. It was way too tropey to fully appreciate and played out as a remake, despite not actually being one...

All in all, it's a perfectly serviceable horror film and there's nothing at all wrong with it, it's just not anything new or special. The fact that people are raving about it online kind of indicates to me more that we've had a serious lack of new and original horror recently!

[Image: Studio Canal Releasing]

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