Asylum is an apparent bait-and-switch for horror fans. The marketing suggests a film about a S.W.A.T. team sent to stop demonic possessions within an asylum. What’s delivered, however, is a MST3K inspired comedy.
After some research, I learned that I was missing out on the real magic of the film though. According to its primary writer Chris Mancini (in his Comedy Film Nerd’s podcast), he sold his first horror feature to a production company, only to discover from them later that the producer ran off with the budget overseas and created an entirely different movie.
Mancini added that the production company was left with around 90 minutes of worthless material. He agreed to “fix” the film by turning it into a comedy that pokes fun at all of its shortcomings. And in even more Meta-fashion, the events that led to the original movie’s outcome are chronicled through a series of “wrapper” segments that take place while the original horror film’s editors are supposedly watching the asylum movie for the first time. I found myself chuckling quite a bit as the two smart alecks pretty much said exactly what my internal dialogue was.
The whole losing control of the film seems very implausible to me though. It’s more logical that this is some cleaver and elaborate marketing of its own. So congratulations. The film makers not only created a found-footage film that I felt was watchable, but they managed to get me to rent the film to begin with.
In the end, however, I could only give Asylum 2.0 bowties out of 5. It’s definitely worth a once through, especially if you like films that are a little Meta, but the gimmick will definitely not stand up to multiple viewings.