Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Asylum Blackout

By Steve Anderson
January 1st, 2013

Asylum BlackoutAsylum Blackout
***
DVD
Directed by Alexandre Courtes
Written by S. Craig Zahler, Jerome Fansten
Starring Anna Skellern, Dave Legeno, Rupert Evans
85 mins
2012
NR

You know, when I want good horror, one of the first places I look is anything with IFC on it. Sure, it's not always great, but considering these are the guys who gave me "Home Movie", well, when they talk, I listen. Would Asylum Blackout be anywhere near as good?

Asylum Blackout follows three wannabe rock stars: George, Max and Ricky. Our trio is about as far away from banging groupies and massive record deals as Earth is from, say, Proxima Centauri, so for the time being, they're working in food service down at the local insane asylum. Sounds horrible, but given that our boys have no direct contact with the inmates and plenty of security to back them up, it's not a terrible job. At least, it wasn't a terrible job, until a surprise thunderstorm crops up and takes out the power. With the loss of power comes the loss of a lot of security measures, and now the inmates have taken control of the asylum. Will George, Max and Ricky be able to get out alive? Or will the inmates finish off the asylum in earnest, and everyone inside it?

What got me was the sheer survival horror overtones that the trailers brought to bear on this one. Longtime readers are quite aware of my fondness for survival horror, and when I see survival horror from IFC, well, that has my notice on lockdown.

And Asylum Blackout is going to do an excellent job of building tension and suspense. The survival part of the whole thing is very soundly done, and the horror is even better. We're talking about a building full of people who have a tenuous connection to reality if they even have one at all. As a result, fair warning: this is going to get pretty intense. These people have very little in the way of connection to reality, so a lot of very unpleasant things are going to go down here. In fact, in the final third of the movie will be plenty of moments that start making you question just what's going on and just who's losing their mind.

Sadly, the ending kind of kills the whole thing, with a bizarre resolution that doesn't really settle just what all went on here. But considering the earlier, the effect isn't too bad. The special features, meanwhile, include English and Spanish subtitles and a set of trailers before the main menu (which, by the way, aren't accessible from the main menu itself) for The Moth Diaries, Entrance, and The Tortured. A trailer for Asylum Blackout, however, can be reached from the main menu.

All in all, Asylum Blackout isn't a bad movie, it just doesn't end very well. It has a great idea going for it, but the execution left quite a bit to be desired, especially in about the last twenty minutes or so. This is still a mostly sound piece of work that doesn't quite pass muster, but offers up plenty of shocks and some good solid terror.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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