(Hristo Shopov as Father Richard)
ORIGINAL TITLE: Asylum.
DIRECTED BY: Todor Chapkanov.
MAIN CAST: Stephen Rea, Hristo Shopov, Caroline Ford, Bruce Payne, Valentin Ganev, James Wong, Radoslav Ignatov, Yana Kuzova, Joe Montana, Curtis Nordstrom, Daniel Rashev, Edward Joe Scargill, Stefan Shterev, Steve Toussaint, Anton Trendafilov and Velimer Velev.
PRODUCED BY: Moshe Diamant, Sufo Evtimov and Bobby Ranghelov.
WRITTEN BY: Chris Mancini and Gage Oxley.
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY: Peter Adams.
RUNTIME: 94 minutes.
“The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul” is the tagline of this horror movie, in which Hristo Shopov plays Father Richard.
In Asylum, an eleven-person riot squad races to an insane asylum to quell a delicate and hostile situation caused by some patients, in which hostages have been taken. When they arrive to the gloomy hospital the rescuers are caught off guard by the sudden barrage of insane patients.
When they've apparently managed to get them under control, the squad realise that two of their members are missing, their communications return only static, and the doors of the building have been blocked. The reality is that they’re trapped.
They break up into three teams to track down the lost members. However, as the asylum is investigated, the rescuers are affected by strange sounds and religious iconography, suggesting something beyond insanity has taken over the inmates.
During all the anguish and claustrophobia, McGahey, a rational and expert negotiator, discovers that the ringleader of this madness is none other than his brother, Father Richard, putting him in the difficult situation of having to fight against him and possibly confront the risk of opening a door to hell.
In this terrifying climate, which damages the men little by litte, the team realise that a simple rescue mission has become a fight against death itself.
* NOTE: Watching Asylum is an unique and indescribable experience. It is very difficult to do a review of a film so strange and common at the same time. Asylum is a film within a film, but with some added elements that make a difference compared to others of similar structure. The idea is to tell a horror story while mocking it and the genre itself, all at the same time.
Imagine that there are two professional editors who have to edit an off line (for those unfamiliar with the term it is edited footage but without the final adjustments) and before they do it, they have a full view of the material available, and while they watch it they make some jokes about each scene. Well... That's Asylum. It's an unfinished horror film with the editor's voices occasionally pulling a joke.
Good parts of the film which moviegoers and horror movie lovers will appreciate are the constant references to the movie world, the art, and the particular genre that our two editors keep using. On the other hand there are the images of the unfinished horror film, representing 80% of the real film footage. Then there are more signs such as scenes that lack special effects with printed what-to-do notes for the editors. There are also deleted scenes that have been replaced by the storyboard, so a part of the film is told through drawings. Other comments referring to the actors' careers are also nice ingredients of the film, as well as criticism of the classic errors of horror films.
Really, you never fully understand, not knowing if you are watching a comedy or a horror film.
It can be said that Asylum, a non-arbitrary title as there are several horror films with this name, is an unclassifiable film, a potentially elitist product which the spectator, expecting the feeling of a horror film will end up realising that it is a comedy that parodies the horror genre.
ASYLUM - Official Trailer