Movie Review-The Asylum Tapes


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It is October 2009 and 3 filmmakers break into an abandoned mental hospital and this footage is their findings. The film starts off two weeks earlier and we start off with a kitchen discussion from Oliver Stone (Mr. Conspiracy Theory himself) about the myth of a ghost called Crazy Kate that exists. This tale is told by candlelight as opposed to being around a fire on a camping trip. As you can guess Oliver’s real life son Sean, who also directed this takes his two friends and they have to go and investigate this asylum and see if ghosts really exist. The three friends who are going to document their search for ghosts, whose characters are basically their real names, start off really slow and keep going slower. From going to the library to video tape the search for books, to being in a longer than expected car ride that goes from annoying to mind numbing boredom. The old adage of once you seen one, you seen them all rings true in this film. The asylum when they get there is dark and as you can guess the lighting comes from the video camera. This film is so slow building that when the film seems to really start to try and scare us, it fails. This is that shadow, person alone in the corner, noises and things that go bump in the night sort of film. Now, those can be good things if done right and used to their full potential, this film it all comes across as done before and done so much better.

Sean Stone does not have the personality or acting to really be a believable character or even a likable one, he comes across as someone we just tolerate. All logic is thrown out the window when the characters start to believe and see things that cannot be explained, they really do not come across as scared but more like skeptic. How many of us, if we heard noises or seen shadows that cannot be explained in the middle of a darkened asylum would just sit around and be ok with it? There is really no sense of fear or urgency to the characters, when they do start to show some concern it seems like a bad afterthought. The found footage things has been played out, and keeps on getting more and more played out by the film. Now, I do not completely hate the genre and style, I just wish that people would try harder to take this medium and do something new with it. How many run down mental hospitals are there left to investigate, and why do we always find these video tapes? You would think that the spirits could cover their tracks better, take the recorder with the victims. It would be like a mass murderer killing someone on camera and just leaving the scene and the camera behind? It makes no sense, trust me some of these tapes and recordings I wish were missing with the people. All in all, everyone has to get their start somewhere, Jennifer Lynch had to, and now Sean Stone has too. Trust me when he makes the film about the conspiracy theories of the Obama camp in the next 15 years, he will never talk about this film in his interview.

All in all, there is a lot of hype about this film and people seem to disagree with my assessment and that is fine. There are people already gearing up to see Paranormal Activity 4 and thinking that will be a good film as well.

2 out of 10