By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Arriving on VOD April 11th.
Does being insane allow one to see the world in a totally new light? Only Jay Woelfel’s horror flick Asylum of Darkness can tell, and oh boy, can he tell! Although the soap opera effects budget and narrative seem distracting, perhaps that was this director’s intention. He’s made a very melodramatic and vaguely supernatural film. With Richard Hatch (in one of his final film appearances) enjoying himself in the role of a doctor (psychologist) trying to calm Dwight Stroud (Nick Baldasare) down, the chuckles are well-earned. This product has a feel of Creepshow meets Dark Shadows.
From inside a padded room, a very beleaguered Stroud narrates, still unaware of all that he’s going to experience in the next few days. Insanity offers foresight into the terrors to come, and this film recalls the style of David Lynch. Not only does this narrative keeps the viewer and Stroud off-kilter but also requires the audience to fully pay attention to the story to realize what is going on in this crazy person’s life.
The tale he tells suggests the world is filled with secret agendas and monstrous beasts in disguise (as humans). The question of who Dwight Stroud truly is gets asked. Is he simply nuts, a serial killer, or someone else? This film moves Donnie Darko style and injects a good measure of Twilight Zone uncertainty into it. There’s a painter Dwight knows whose works “come to life.”
The problem with indie films these days is that it is hard to get noticed by the masses. On the Internet Movie Database, two entries suggest this movie was most likely made in 2012 than recently. In light of Hatch’s death early this year, perhaps acknowledgement for this film can come for those curious in seeing what Hatch has done the past few years after the short, Prelude to Axanar, was made. He’s been very supportive of the indie film-making scene by appearing in them, and this movie is no exception.
3½ Stars out of 5