--Reviewed by Lindy Loo
Plotline: A group of guys is commissioned to clean up all the asbestos in an old mental hospital. Things immediately start to go awry after one guy inexplicably vanishes.
Scariness factor: About 2/3 of the way through the movie, I had to sit up straight on the couch instead of lying down so that I could see the area of the room behind me, just in case. I was so spooked that it took all my willpower to keep the lights turned off until the movie was over with. If you watch a movie that actually makes you look over your shoulders the remainder of the night as well as make sure to turn on every light in the house, this is usually a good sign for a horror flick. And my house was ABLAZE with lights after watching it.
Originality: Nothing FANTASTICALLY original, though I did appreciate the fact that the movie was actually filmed in an authentic mental institution: the Danvers State Hospital (where lobotomies originally started to be implemented) which was spooky as shit. (*Sidenote: Be sure to check out some of the extras on the dvd, as the info about the state mental hospital and the filming is as spooky as the movie in parts. Oh, and read more about the spookines of the Danvers State Hospital here.)
Complaints: The ending is a bit lame in parts. I would've ended it about 5 minutes earlier than the creators did (I hate explanatory recaps and flashbacks in the last 5 minutes of movies). But then again, I watched the alternate ending, and thank god they went with the one they did. Oh, and BURN IN HELL, DAVID CARUSO. Gah! The man really just needs to stick to his terrible television shows.
High Points: The movie plays with darkness very nicely. One of the best scenes in the movie is when one of the cleaning crew who suffers from nictophobia finds himself trapped downstairs with a flashlight when the generator sputters out. He begins to run when the lights start flickering, and as he runs down a hallway rimmed with lights, each one bursts into darkness one by one behind him--the darkness moving like a force that is actually chasing him down the hallway--and then passes him up and swallows the whole hall in a black maw of dark. Fantastically filmed scene. All the major highpoints of the movie come from understatement such as this. We don't see much until the end. We only catch glimpses. And all the high points also come from the directors and creators taking advantage of the spookiness of the mental institution and playing that up.
Overall: The movie is not flawless. This is actually the second time I've seen it, and I was not impressed with it at all the first time round. So maybe it was just my mood. But I really found it quite spooky and impressive. And I had a bitch of a time falling asleep that night. So I'd definitely recommend.
Labels: A movies