Executives in charge of marketing movie have long been aware of the veracity old adage that sex sells. Salacious covers adorn the steamy romance novels ladies love to read at the beach while advertisements scantily clad young ladies captures the attention of the important demographic of males 13 to, in order to sell everything from beer to cars. During the Golden age of exploitation movies with the grind house was the also that teenage boys made difficult to on a regular basis, post this in the theater promise scenes of incredible violence, skin tingling horror and gratuitous sex and nudity. In most cases, these films delivered on their promises and ample measure. During the Golden age of the VHS distributed horror film, deception became the rule. The content of the cover art barely made good on the puerile promises of the contents. Even with today’s far more liberal standards and what can be shown open the others and on DVDs, this trend of misleading the audience into believing there is more explicit material in the movie delivers. An example of this came across my desk recently, in the form of ‘sxtape’. The buzz generated on the Internet made it seem that this movie was a blast from the past homage to those sleazy expletive grind house wonders he spent so many hours watching on Friday nights. The actual amount of such content is minimal, at least sufficiently so to disappoint the target audience of teenage boys were watch this flick with expectations that will never be achieved.
There is a plethora of ways in the quiver of a storyteller that can be used to induce a state of terror in the audience. One of the most commonly used is the ever popular insane asylum. Some a campfire stories of filled with tales of a state mental patients, the only psychotic roaming the backwards looking to pick or isolated campers. Other variations include kids breaking in to an abandoned facility in order to get high and have sex. Then there is the burgeoning documentarian or film school student looking to utilize the guaranteed creepy environment in order to leverage a suitable frightening mood to his opus. There is one factor that this movie had to face is that one of the absolute best use of the mental health facility, asylum, as a setting for horror has just been used on one of the best examples of horror ever seen on television, Ryan Murphy’s incredible anthology series ‘American Horror Story’ with the third season aptly named ‘Asylum’. After such a near-perfect example of how this subgenre should be executed, subsequently attempts now have to strive for a bar raised to an incredible standard of excellence. Even without the reason remade comparisons to that series and the myriad of like themed films, this one for short of keeping up with the pack. It does come across as an honest effort but one that cannot properly gel the various requisite elements into go cohesive presentation.
The premise of this film fits squarely in your aforementioned lists possibilities utilizing a technique quite popular with independent filmmakers; in medias res. The young woman, Jill (Caitlyn Folley), is having a serious conversation with the police detective. The gist of the conversation is that her boyfriend Adam (Ian Duncan) has been found dead with the mystery compounded by two additional missing persons. This technique of starting in the middle is understandably a tricky one to successfully pull off. It has to make an immediate impact on the audience and inexorably pulling them in with an overwhelming need to understand what led up to that point. This is achieved to some degree insufficient firmly for the viewer. Before this could play out, the scene switches back in time to a one with Adam and Jill. Having is s nascent videographer and Jill a burgeoning artist whose preferred medium is paint. The scene that Adam is filming is intended to be used in a work that will highlight Jill’s artwork. Adam, and a half joking fashion, she just the two of them make a sex tape filming them being intimate in various unorthodox locations. Although Jill initially declines participating in such an idea, she eventually does come around. While driving home from one location, Adam comes up with an idea. Not far from them is an abandoned mental health facility, the Vergerus Institute for Troubled Women. At one point it was well known for providing abortions to young women. Adam’s idea is not to use it for their cinematic carnal escapades, but rather as a venue to throw a party as a means to exhibit of paintings. Jill is intrigued by the idea and wants to immediately go and check out the abandoned building. As anyone who has ever seen a horror flick knows, there is absolutely no reason at all to go to an abandoned asylum, especially at night.
As they are crawling around the premises the pair is very nearly caught by passing patrol man. While waiting for the man to pass they decide continued to explore the hospital. Adam manages to talk Jill into allowing him to tie her down on a table in one of the facilities procedure rooms. Even under the best of circumstances, bondage of this sort requires extraordinary degree of trust. Considering the circumstances and the location, you have to wonder about the degree of mental competency Jill possesses. She is certainly not the requisite archetype for the majority of horror flick, the survivor girl. By definition this young woman is the quick witted, intelligent member of the perspective victim’s list that can outsmart the rampaging psychopath. Judging by the descions made by Jill thus far it doesn’t seem that Jill is measuring up to the minimal functional requirements of the trope. Adam decides that it would be funny to pretend to leave Jill straps to the surgical table, the turns away from her. In that moment a female ghost, boys and waiting all this time for suitable host, the tax Jill and possesses her body. At this point they decide it might be a good idea to leave but predictably circumstances of such to preclude that from happening. Going outside they find that their car has been towed. Somehow manages to talk her friend, Ellie (Diana Garcia), to come and pick them up. It is difficult for even a well-constructed thriller to work with only two characters but thankfully this plot contrivance comes right on cue.
Ellie arrives with her boyfriend, Bobby (Chris Coy), who for some reason convinces Jill to go back inside with him, which he does. When Adam sees this it becomes jealous, believing Jill is interested in Bobby. Considering she has agreed to have sex with him films and strange locations and permitted him to strap her to that table, where he shouldn’t have that much to worry about but Adam doesn’t come across as the sharpest knife in the drawer. To be fair, this is a necessary plot contrivance in insert some emotional conflict between the principles. The forces of evil usually need something to exaggerate to drive a wedge between them. Bobby has been flirtatious with Jill so the supposition is not entirely unfounded resulting in a rapid escalation leading from animosity to the physical. It gets out of control when Bobby pulls out a gun. As it turns out Jill is soon found amidst blood and gun shells hysterical. Jill and Ellie got into a fight. Next comes the requisite sinister backstory, besides abortions this facility forced lobotomies on its hapless patients. They happen across the records of one of the one woman, Nicolette. The rest is fairly obvious.
The movie cannot hold itself together ultimately imploding under its own predictability. The shame of it is there are a number of instances where the story begins to move in an original direction only to skid off course. As mentioned, the characters are one dimensional with little to offer the audience and nothing for the actors to work with. There are two stories that ideally were intended to collide in a climactic moment but wind up tripping each other,