- 1 hr 30 min
Asylum is a psychological thriller film from 1997 that stars Robert Patrick, Karl Bury, and Tom Poster. The film is directed by James Seale and written by Matthew Jason Walsh. The story revolves around a group of people who are brought together in a mental institution as part of an experimental treatment program. The film begins by introducing us to the main characters, including Dr. Dan Potter (Robert Patrick), a psychiatrist who works at the mental institution, and his patients, including a young woman named Eve (Sarah Wynter) who suffers from schizophrenia. Dr. Potter is a dedicated professional who believes in the power of therapy and is eager to help his patients overcome their mental illnesses.
As the story unfolds, we learn that Dr. Potter's superiors at the institution have authorized an experimental treatment program that involves locking patients in a room for 24 hours a day with sensory deprivation. The theory is that this will force the patients to confront their inner demons and heal faster. However, it quickly becomes clear that this treatment is having a devastating effect on the patients.
Asylum is a tense and gripping film that explores the boundaries of mental illness and the lengths that people will go to in order to find a cure. The film is shot in a claustrophobic manner that creates a sense of unease throughout, and the performances of the cast are excellent. Robert Patrick is particularly impressive as the dedicated psychiatrist who is forced to question his own beliefs when faced with such extreme treatment methods.
The film is set in an imposing mental institution that feels like a character in its own right. The cold, sterile environment is a perfect backdrop for the psychological horror that unfolds, and the use of sound and lighting is very effective in creating a sense of dread.
As well as exploring mental illness, Asylum also deals with the concept of power and the abuse of authority. The doctors at the institution are portrayed as being ruthless and authoritarian, using their positions of power to experiment on vulnerable patients. This theme is particularly relevant in the current climate of debate around the use of chemical restraints and other controversial treatments in psychiatric institutions.
Overall, Asylum is an intense and thought-provoking film that will leave you thinking long after you've finished watching it. The performances are top-notch, and the direction is excellent, creating a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere that is perfect for the story being told. This is a film that will appeal to fans of psychological horror and anyone who is interested in the complexities of the human mind.