Now that I’ve finished covering all the film festival titles I’d missed, I’m checking out the last of the After Dark Originals that I had yet to see, starting with Bedlam, Sanatorium, and Ritual.
If watching helpless, mentally ill people being raped and tortured by equally mentally ill people in power is your idea of a horror movie, then you’ll love Bedlam.
Seeing these horrors play out on screen with no substantial plot serves no purpose—it’s not entertainment and it’s not effectively communicating awareness of the mental health and treatment problems that plague the world.
A combination of seeing how these people are treated and I guess tripping us out with chaotic abstractions of what it must be like in the mind of a mentally ill person (not to mention satirical clips of profiting off mental illness in advertising), the film focuses on a main guy who has all kinds of mental illnesses and puts all his faith in the same doctor that treated his late, mentally ill mother.
Every cliché in the mental illness and abuse book is thrown at us, most prominently being themes of homosexuality and pedophilia. It seems to be implying that the leading man is gay and his father used his orientation as an excuse to sexually abuse him.
My verdict? A tedious 102 minutes of torture porn.
What would compel filmmakers to keep making found footage movies about ghost hunting teams exploring old asylums that turn out to be haunted because doctors experimented on patients?
Oops! Did I spoil the plot? If so, you clearly don’t watch many horror movies.
They visit the asylum. They learn its history. They take a flashlight tour. They cheap scare each other. They find a doll. Then everything goes green as they switch to night vision.
There are noises. Things move. Doors slam. They run around a lot, shouting into walkie-talkies, screaming, and saying the same shit that has been said in dozens of other found footage films. Chaos ensues (finally) in the last act. Someone gets dragged away on camera.
Some cool scary and gory stuff happens at the very end, I’ll give it that much. I just don’t know that it’s ever worth sitting through the same old shit to get to it. (Hint…fast forward to the last ten minutes for the only thrills you’ll get).
An hysterical woman calls her estranged husband to a hotel, where he finds that she has a dead man in her room.
They spend a majority of the movie talking…how and why did she kill him and what are they going to do about it?
There’s a scary clown doll tossed in just for the hell of it…
They finally just leave the hotel, but have to go back because the husband left something behind. And then, finally, a cult in masks comes knocking.
It is astonishing that a script for a 90-minute movie that has over an hour of repetitive, boring dialogue with only a glimmer of tame suspense in the last fifteen minutes or so would be green-lit, but here it is. This movie fails to even live up to its name.