Jeff Buhler screenwriter for Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train, helms his first directorial debut effort with Insanitarium, featuring a slow progressing, low-budget horror story, with the most insane ending of gore and blood splatter, which lasts for 40-minutes. A basic story of Jack (Jesse Metcalfe) and Lily (Kiele Sanchez) surviving after their mother passes, except Lily struggles more with suicidal thoughts, and finds herself committed to a psychiatric ward, which permits no visitors, a viewpoint that angers her brother Jack, and sets into effect a series of confrontational bloody events.
Noted actor Peter Stormare (Dr. Gianetti), heads the hospital, and commands sound authority and yet eludes a creepy bedside manner that most of the AMA would find displeasing. Gianetti, works on trying to control the higher brain functions thereby removing the primordial pertains (anger, rage, lusts derive from visual and audio stimulation) of the brain, and cure mad individuals plague by their personal and imaginary demons. Though customary in a horror the good doctor, turns out as the mad doctor, such as Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, and Dr. Herbert West, and Dr. Vannacutt, the intentions start with admiral qualities only to deteriorate quickly. His new drug Orpheum, strips the dangerous portions in theory result in calming patients, into drones, the opposite occurs, the patients become raving cannibalistic lunatics, operating on speed rabies though some also use seduction methods to capture their prey. The entire film becomes a horror mixture of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and blends with Bart Mastronardi’s Tales of Poe (2014).
Jake, has made friends with Dave (Kevin Sussman, who one year later started on and now appears more regularly on The Big Bang Theory), who at first is perceived as a figment of his imagination of how he appears and then later no one else speaks directly to him. Meanwhile, the film contains a version of Hannibal Lecter (Armin Shimerman) who resides in the extreme ward, that confusing look like glass specimen vaults, and while not foreign, as in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and even Manhunter (1986) the cells were clean, white, and glass. A trivia note, for the experienced horror fan, in the psych wards, many of the patients have starred in horror films, and fully nailed the performance with deranged wildly acting, that blurs the line before over-acting and truly bizarre behaviors. Aided by the special effects department the lunatics eyes change over, conveying the ancient inherited portions of the brain, feeding on it and changing them into creatures of incredible strength, endurance, and enhance speed.
The script sadly leaps wildly over plot holes, first notably how Jack joins his sister in the psych ward, and then the staff dull emotional state, as the patients turn quite mad. One might attempt to state a worship level of authority to Dr. Gianetti but when one loses their finger, toting the line and honor goes out the window. The second area that viewers battle on comes from the standpoint of the Doctor injecting himself with his own serum, and that no individual would, this actually is incorrect, many times in real life it occurs. Doctors for the most often consider themselves a GOD, and believe the intellect and false superiority makes them immune to the contaminations that lesser individuals indulge in, an air of arrogance and classism. Many movies have portrayed this sense of entitlement, running the gambit, of drug and alcohol abuse to murder all under the guise of the betterment of the human race. Lastly, many critics pointed out the lack of staff providing ease of movement around a large hospital, however in countless horror films and other genres a limited staff at a hospital gets a passing grade, must be a horror thing, just take Halloween II (1981), huge building with a nursey and few staff, no criticism there.
The prime, grade-A portion of the movie, holds in the last 40-minutes with a cat-and-mouse chase, follow by self-cannibalism, and original concept, and providing a fun film of long pig. Lisa Arturo’s character Heather a woman on sexual prowl, takes the role to new heights and the longest sequences of time walking around with blood drenched bare breasts something that T&A gore-hounds will clamor for more often. The amount of buckets of blood, turns quickly into gallons, and escalates into an everlasting the gore factor, with impressively high degree of practical effects, in this direct-to-DVD.
This review originally posted on the Rogue Cinema site in June of 2016 with a view count of 1,328.
IMDb Rating: 5.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 5/10