I need to stop watching asylum themed horror movies. I can’t help but be a sucker for them, especially when they are set in the early 19th century. Stonehearst Asylum boasts a pretty big cast for a movie that had zero marketing. The film stars Kate Beckinsale as Eliza Graves who has been committed by her husband for “hysteria”.
During the first scene Eliza is wheeled into a college classroom to, presumably, lobotomize her. Before we’re shown Mrs. Graves’ fate, we flash forward some time and are greeted with our love interest Jim Sturgess as rookie doctor Edward Newgate. It’s soon apparent that Newgate may not be who he says he is. As he’s shown into the asylum by some rather surly looking groundskeepers, we see that the hospital has transformed into a welcoming place. Patients are happy; they have done away with electroshock, and Ben Kingsley has taken over. Oh yes, the inmates have taken over, and Silas Lamb (Kingsley) is running things. And no, that’s not a spoiler, that information is revealed quite early on.
I’m not sure what the director of The Machinist is doing directing such a run of the mill asylum movie. The plot is so paper thin and overdone that a small child could see it coming a mile away. But yet here we are with Brad Anderson at the helm directing this hunk of junk. It’s so formulaic that it seems as though Anderson is going out of his way to bore his audience to death.
Good for these actors who evidently tried their best with these roles but they could only do so much. I started to forget that individual characters were even in the film because they just never had anything interesting to say.
It is very clearly a case of movie-for-a-pay-check time for these folks. Everyone involved hasn’t been doing a whole lot lately. It would make sense that they all converge in such a dull and thin plot, less work and easy money! I’m sure if you ask Ben Kingsley he would tell you the same thing!
So meanwhile, back in movie land, Graves has fallen for newcomer Newgate. Though she suffers from hysteria at a man’s touch, Newgate helps her through it. I won’t give away the rest of the movie, but you can be sure it’s extremely implausible and stupid.