Did we just watch the entirety of Brad Anderson’s newest thriller Stonehearst Asylum, or was that, in fact, just a trailer like it's labeled? All this talk of mysteries turned into reveals and then everything smooshed together; all the while, Kate Beckinsale wants to know what Jim Sturgess is doing there. This isn’t exactly the movie I was hoping for back when it was called Eliza Graves. Still, I’m a sucker for asylum movies.
And Anderson knows a thing or two about asylum movies, having directed 2001’s stellar psychological twister Session 9. (Still the best thing David Caruso has ever done.) With the haughtily titled Stonehearst Asylum, he’s got Ben Kingsley playing opposite Michael Caine along with Brendan Gleeson to back up his two leads. The pic’s plot is also fairly intriguing, and I like the period look and feel of it. But this trailer (via Yahoo! Movies) takes too long to get to its point and probably could have left 45 seconds or so out, including all of those incessant Upworthy-ish "Once You Discover The Truth" inserts. That font/effect combination looks terrible.
Based on Edgar Allen Poe’s short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether," Stonehearst Asylum centers on Sturgess’ med school graduate, who accepts a dreadful job at Ye Olde Stonehearst Asylum. As this takes place in France in the 1800s, you can imagine that medical standards weren’t held up by much, but the doctors at Stonehearst aren’t just getting diagnoses wrong. They’re apparently all a bunch of nutjobs themselves, having taken over the institution from Caine and the rest of the legitimate staff. Even having written about this movie before, knowing that there was some kind of a switcheroo involved, I still expected this to be the third act "gotcha!" Yet here it all is, in the trailer. Maybe I’m just having Shutter Island and Iron Man 3 flashbacks.
Despite the nagging tug of the trailer’s presentation, it looks lovely, and probably close to what I’d have had in mind reading this story. (Of which I have zero recollection.) The primness. The drabness. The fog. Mostly the fog. I like having homicidal giants leaping out, along with the pleasure of an insane Ben Kingsley leading a single-building revolution. There’s a lot of potential in that, regardless of how long Caine stays locked up in a cage. Watching the guy tossing himself off a cliff in the opening did it for me, too. If the love story between Sturgess and Beckinsale wins me over, that’s bonus.
Anderson, who also directed the superb 2008 thriller Transsiberian, last gave audiences 2013’s The Call, which also suffered from trailer mishandling and was much more effective than expected. Find out if Stonehearst Asylum makes you crazy or sane when it hits theaters and VOD on October 24.