This film marks the debut of Johnny Johnson, as director and writer, and his first independent low-budget creation, that while set in mental hospital does not revolve around a found footage, a normal escape for many breaking into the market and the horror genre. Thankfully, the production does make strives forward for an enjoyable horror venture, but viewers and critics, must understand that this is a fictional story and not inspired on true events.
Johnson’s tale weaves the story of a mental hospital in the final days of operation and while the medical staff has happiness for the luxuries of the new facility the staff, mainly security personnel, are not welcomed to the new place, hence unemployment faces their new reality. As everything shutters, the security staff, headed by Thomas Reid (Steve Hope Wynne) devises a course of revenge for the treatment imposed upon them from the nobility of the medical doctors. Meanwhile Dr. Helen Kingsford (Jenna Verdicchio) working her final rounds, spends time with a patient named Lara Visser (Kristina Dargelyte) though a bit unsure of the reasoning to the rest of the staff, however her credentials allow this leeway. In lies the first obstacle, the mental snapping of Reid, and his brutality strikes out against sexual assault of Helen, yet fails at the tasks, hinting to a larger problem of his capabilities, and even assistance from others the rape does not occur, thankfully. Soon enough Reid unleashes the remaining 3 violent patients and begins the rampaging assault of the left at the facilities enjoying a celebration in honor of Helen and the new facility. So far, the script works with brief hiccups, and has all intentions of proceeding correctly, and then a major slip in the screenplay, leading to an experimental machine never before used, and yet Reid understands how to operate it, this begins the first of a series of missteps, as if the horror course appears more forcefully that a dramatic thriller. This machine causes Reid to become quite enrage and thoroughly more unstable, and gives him hints of schizophrenic symptoms and continues an unbelievable course of actions. In addition, a dose of turning individuals’ eyes into black pools, a hint of paranormal activity, with what intentions leaves the audience stranded at a large empty void. But wait there’s more, for example only one exit in the entire hospital, and a tunnel beneath the hospital that leads to the front door exit, and then a young girl living in the tunnels for an extended period time, name Chloe (Rosie Cochrane). The worse aspect, nothing is explained to the viewer, they are left to aimless wonder what message and intent that Johnson drives the flick to for a satisfying conclusion. However, Johnson aims to push a tad further, tries to deal a card of suspension and tension into the film, with a foreshadowing of the fault in the gasolines building quickly.
All of these factors bring a shotgun method to tell more plots lines then the audience can maintain interest in as needed for this muddling and stumbling horror movie. The saving graces comes from the interactions between Verdicchio and Wynne, their acting skills keep the audience engage to follow the struggles and tribulations, through the second half of the movie. Helen spends the remainder of the film with Lara and Chloe, who have polar opposite mentalities for survival and the choices become clear who to trust. Wynne brings a dangerous unstable psychotic imagine of himself to the forefront and presenting a madman, with his evil guards following the commands and orders without any moral objections, and never does the snarling attributes of his relentless behaviors subside for any measure of time. The violence that one perceives that occurs in this situation, even with a limited cast, sadly does not exist, enough to disturb the sterile white walls, the wounding occurs off screen, advice the fans that the practical effects lack from like the budgetary constraints.
The film suffers from many script oversights, and numerous plot holes, and never clearly explaining them by the end of the film, and yet filled with delusional aspirations from a deranged sociopathic security staff member with depraved intentions to rid himself of the presume social injustices that befall him in the maze of life itself. Johnson’s film earned distribution from Midnight Releasing, and hence a blessing with great battling acting from a dedicated cast that gave their hearts without flat lining too early in the movie.
This review was originally published on the now defunct Rogue Cinema in June 2015.
IMDb Rating: 3.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.0/10