Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sanitarium (DVD Review) - Image Entertainment
Directed By: Bryan Ortiz, Bryan Ramirez, Kerry Valderrama
Written By: Evan Boston, Crystal Bratton, James Hartz, Scott Marcano, Bryan Ortiz, Kerry Valderrama
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Glover, Robert Englund
Color/108 Minutes/Not Rated
SANITARIUM is an anthology film set inside of a hospital where Malcolm McDowell is a doctor who tells us three tales of the most disturbed patients he has. The first story revolves around an eccentric artist named Gustav who sculpts clay dolls with which he frequently talks to and argues with. His friend and manager Sam (played by Robert Englund) gets him a deal in New York City but Gustav's dolls have driven him mad and he starts murdering everybody he is friends with. The second story involves a shy student with an abusive father who has started seeing visions of a large hooded figure with ragged clothes. As time goes on the figure gets more physical with the boy and his teacher (the lovely Lacey Chabert) assumes it is the father and steps in. They attacked by this monster hobo, shark toothed, nasty giant guy. Finally the last story revolves around a college professor (Lou Diamond Phillips) who has ended up in the asylum because of his obsession with the December 21st, 2012 doomsday theory. Through flashbacks we see him lose his job, family and mind when everything in his world begins to revolved around preparing for an alien invasion on this day. He installs a fallout shelter and begins living in it, listening to music, working out and doing more studying on the subject until the day comes and his mind slips a little further away with each passing day.
SANITARIUM is another entry in to the resurant anthology film format. It is uneven and doesn't have a very good or compelling wrap around story. Malcolm McDowell is little more than a name to slap on a poster, or DVD cover in this case, as his narration and limited on screen time does very little to add to the film. He isn't bad in his role, it is just that he has nothing to do. The first story is just okay. The payoff is taken away from us in one shot, and after that it doesn't make up for it. We rarely get to hear what the dolls are saying to the artist so the arguments don't really make sense to the viewer. The second story features the incredibly attractive Lacey Chabert but the girl can't act her way out of a paper bag. I'd love for her to be my school teacher but I don't want her anywhere near my movies unless she plans on getting naked. The story is what it is, the monster thing has lame design and the boy kind of ends up like a shitty Michael Myers rip off. The final story is by far the best, with an excellent performance from Lou Diamond Phillips. He owns the role and carries the story which is the longest of the three. I wouldn't mind seeing this one fleshed out more and being a full length psychological horror feature film. The rest of SANITARIUM is very pedestrian. From the direction and editing to the score, there isn't anything that really stands out.
The Audio & Video
The DVD presentation of SANITARIUM from Image Entertainment looks and sounds very nice. The different settings of the various stories all look great, perhaps best within the final story in the fallout shelter. From the sun shining exteriors to the drab and dreary interiors of the hospital and a fallout shelter the image performs well. Colors are lively, white levels are never too hot and black levels are handled pretty well with only a moment or two of the blacks blocking up. The stereo audio track handles the dialogue and soundtrack mix with ease and is a joy to listen to.
The Bottom Line
SANITARIUM is worth checking out for the last story alone even though the first two stories are nothing special. Give it a rental.
SANITARIUM is available HERE