November 18, 2014 Stonehearst Asylum (Movie Review)
Stonehearst Asylum is the latest movie to be released by Icon Productions and Sobini Films on October 24th, 2014 and is based on the short story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether by the famous Horror writer, Edgar Allan Poe. Written by Joseph Gangemi (Spirit Box 2009, Go with Me 2015) and Directed by Brad Anderson (Vanishing on 7th Street 2010, The Call 2013) Stonehurst Asylum takes place in England in the 1800’s. The story stakes place in Stonehurst Asylum, a formidable building, housing societies richest, but craziest patients, set against the wet cold English countryside. Doctor Edward Newrate (Jim Sturgess: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken 2014, The Big Shoe 2015) arrives at Stonehurst with the intent of completing the clinical part of his medical training. He meets the groundskeeper Mickey Finn (David Thewlis: The Theory of Everything 2014, Queen and Country 2014), and is eventually lead to the Asylum’s superintendent Doctor Silas Lamb (Ben Kingsley: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 2014, The Walk 2015) whose unconventional ways lead Doctor Newgate to question Lamb’s methods.
That is until Edwards meets the beautiful and mysterious patient Mrs. Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale: The Face of an Angel 2014, Absolutely Anything 2015) who plays the perfect English Rose. Edward is immediately and completely enraptured by Eliza’s beauty and struggles to understand why she is in a lunatic asylum, despite causing physical harm to her husband. Not long into his stay at Stonehurst, Edward discovers that there is much more going on under the surface than he first believed.
Despite his unusual behaviour, Doctor Lamb has an innovative way of treating his patients, that seems to get positive responses, encouraging Edward to learn. As the days pass, Edward submits to his passion for Eliza, which almost overwhelms him. As strange occurrences give him cause to investigate Doctor Lamb further, what he finds, rocks him to his very core, and he must question everything around him.
After Edward discovers that some of the patients may be running the hospital, the question rises, who is really crazy, and are the treatments for mental people worse than what is wrong with them to begin with? Stonehurst Asylum seems to hold many secrets and once Edward scratches the surface, he must fight for his life, the woman he loves, and their sanity. The appearance of another man saying he is the superintendent of the hospital, Doctor Ben Salt (Michael Cain: Interstellar 2014, Kinsmen: The Secret Service 2015) only adds to his confusion.
This movie has a few twists and turns, most of which the viewer may see coming, except perhaps the very end. It has a similar feel to The Awakening (2011) and The Haunting (1999) which also starred Kate Beckinsale, with their old world feel, but it is a very slow moving movie, with long periods between any action. With a cast of some veteran actors, Stonehurst Asylum had the potential to be original even in the midst of a score of movies set in spooky old buildings, it just did not deliver.
Edward’s complete obsession with Eliza does not make a lot of sense, even when it is explained further. Though the end does tie all the story pieces together, the viewer may feel let down by the unrealistic romantic aspects of the movie. Unfortunately it does not do Poe’s story a great deal of justice, and with less focus on the scary psychological aspects rather than the love story, it feels more Romance and less Horror/Thriller. CrypticRock Scores Stonehearst Asylum 1 out of 5 stars.