Fifteen years ago, the Psychiatric Hospital on the hill was closed and 2400 patients transferred or let loose. Now it is time to clean up the building, and Gordon Fleming barely manages to get the bid, promising almost impossibly quick results in order to save his business.
Gordon and his friend Phil hire extra men to get the job done, including Hank, who is dating Phil's ex-girlfriend and does not mince words with Phil about it. Our crew is filled in with Bill and Jeff, who is Gordon's young nephew.
The old buildings are now graffiti ridden, dangerous with water damage and heavy with asbestos. During their original tour, Gordon hears a voice speaking to him from down the hallway of ward C, the ward reserved for the most dangerous of patients.
Delving immediately into the huge project, we catch glimpses of each character and see their responses to the eerie environment of their job. Bill runs across some old tapes of a long dead female patient, labeled Sessions 1-9, and begins listening to them. She had multiple personalities, and the more Bill listens, the more disturbed he becomes.
Hank finds a treasure in the wall that enclosed the old crematorium, and abruptly leaves both his job and his girlfriend to go to a casino school in Florida, but young Jeff finds him stalking the grounds of the asylum, and after that things get really weird.
Without revealing anything further about the movie, let me tell you what I liked and disliked about it.
What I liked was the spectacular scenery, stunningly beautiful footage of the old hospital, and deeply sinister shots of its rotting interior. Location was used to astounding effect, providing one of the chilliest atmospheres I have ever seen. Add to that some eerie tunnels with only flashlights for lighting, sunlight streaming hazily through dirty windows, amazing cinematography utilizing the shoot scene to its fullest. Not to mention a creepy storyline of bad things happening in a bad place, and stellar acting by David Caruso and supporting cast.
What I didn't like was that the development was too slow for true terror to strike me, there was too much filler dialogue and too many scenes with nothing important happening. The movie could have been tightened down quite a bit without loosing the magnificent photogenic effects, almost as if not quite enough film hit the editing floor. With 100 minutes not being a long movie, this particular story might have been a better effort at 90 minutes, cutting the dribble here and there that left me starving for the tastier parts.
It's possible that I'm just too jaded for this type of experiment, but I failed to feel any real threat...no tantalizing shiver for my safety and well-being. Too loosely does the movie travel until we finally see any form of evil, and in that I found it to be a bit fatiguing instead of intriguing.
Still, its chilling atmosphere makes up a great deal for the drudgery, and you will want to stick around and find out what Simon has to say. Enjoy!
What did you think of this review?