Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
Written By: FZ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Brad Anderson
Screenwriter: Joe Gangemi
Producer: Bruce Davey, Mark Amin
Based on: Short story by Edgar Allan Poe
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Kate Beckinsale as Lady (Eliza) Graves
Jim Sturgess as Edward Newgate
Michael Caine as Dr. Benjamin Salt
Ben Kingsley as Dr. Silas Lamb
David Thewlis as Mickey Finn
Brendan Gleeson as The Alienist
Sinéad Cusack as Mrs. Pike
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
This is a story of an Oxford graduate, who takes up a job in a mental asylum set in 1899. During his stay, he discovered that the “revolutionary” new treatments are inhumane, and that there is more going on than meets the eye.
The movie resonates more like a thriller mystery than a full-pledged horror movie. There are a few scenes of ‘Medical Procedures’ that would now been more likely thought of as torture like Hosing, Electroshock treatment, waterboarding and the like. There’s a man who is set on fire and burns to death. In flashbacks there is an amputated limb in a tub. Also see a man walking through a battlefield medical tent, shooting injured soldiers in the head.
The Grave Review
The film is thoroughly enjoyable, assuming one approaches it in the playful spirit with which capable director like Brad Anderson and the extremely game cast intended. The prolific script is filled with so many twists and turns, as each new revelation sends the plot spinning in a new direction.
“Stonehearst Asylum” is a bizarre film. It is a look at patients suffering from madness in the 1890s era. It’s a treatise on inhuman ‘treatments’ these patients often underwent. And it’s a mystery. The film contains elements of the macabre – predominantly isolation and creepy asylum atmosphere. It also features some notable actors – such as Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, and Kate Beckinsale – that help further it along.
The cinematography in “Asylum” provides an authentically creepy atmosphere. The huge, sweeping asylum is reminiscent at once of a macabre dungeon and palatial estate. There is also a dungeon scene with some captives which is one of the more eerie set pieces in the film.
Acting-wise, the cast carries the film well. Sturgess is capable and affable and becomes a man we want to root for with ease. He is pitted against Dr. Lam, who teaches him much about mental health clinical skills, even if his methods leave a lot to be desired.
Overall “Stonehearst” plays out more like a long episode of “American Horror Story,” both in its story progression and overall plot. But is presented nicely, and the asylum – mostly shown draped in darkness both within and without – provides a macabre backdrop for the proceedings.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews give Stonehearst Asylum (2014) four graves out of five graves.
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