“Stonhearst Asylum” is an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation with an A-list cast and does not disappoint!
A recent medical school grad who takes a position at a mental institution soon finds himself taken with one of his colleagues — though he has no initial idea of a recent, horrifying staffing change.
Cinematics(Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.)
Edgar Allan Poe is a timeless author known for his eerie and suspenseful mystery stories. When it comes to the recent film adaptation “Stonehearst Asylum” (based on “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether”), it more than encompasses the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe with its eerie, isolated setting and dynamically mysterious characters.
The setting of the mental institution is a common setting among horror and mystery films. With many Hollywood type theatrics, mental institutions are depicted as run down supernatural buildings rather than any type of beneficial medical institution. “Stonhearst Asylum” differs in this regard by using the setting as a supplement rather than a crutch. The asylum builds the sense of isolation and despair but the characters are the backbone of the film’s mystery and suspense.
Between the nefarious nature of Ben Kingsley, the eloquent dialogue of Michael Caine, the timid nature of Jim Sturgess, and the enchanting beauty of Kate Beckinsale, “Stonehearst Asylum” creates a formula for suspenseful intrigue. The most interesting thing about these characters is how they tie the plot together. There is no true right or wrong throughout the film as each character has a flipside. Without revealing too much of the plot, I will say that there are unexpected surprises throughout the film that keep the momentum going until the very last scene. After watching “Stonehearst Asylum” you may side with some characters over others but in the end your opinions will be based upon your own ethical perspective rather than any absolutes.
“Stonhearst Asylum” is very entertaining for those that favor mystery and suspense. Throughout the film it feels as if you’re watching a demented game of “Clue” as the plot progresses and dives deeper into the origins of the characters. It may not have the complexity that some hardcore cinephiles may desire but it should appease both cinephiles and general audiences alike with its constant twists and turns.
In addition to the interesting story and characters, the film is surrounded by a broad A-list cast that many viewers can relate to. Between Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine viewers get their seasoned veterans and with Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess viewers get their youth and beauty.
Despite its arguable plot simplicity, I found “Stonehearst Asylum” to be very entertaining with the ability to entertain a large demographic of viewers.
Unfortunately “Stonehearst Asylum” is a film that doesn’t fit well into the “Rewatchability” category. Like many mystery and suspense films, much of the luster is gone once the film’s questions are answered. I would be willing to watch this film again with the intent to share it with another person but much of the film’s complexity can be unraveled in one viewing.
The Blu-ray is extremely lacking when it comes to extras. The extras consist of one featurette that slightly piques interest which is short-lived. The lack of features obviously do not affect the quality of the film but lack of these features could be a make or break deal for those deciding on whether to rent or own.
- Entertainment Value
- Blu-ray/DVD Features
"Stonhearst Asylum" casts a wide net with its audience reach. With a plot that is intriguing yet not overly complex, it is sure to captivate most everyone looking for a suspenseful mystery film. With the top notch cast, performances are superb (as expected) creating many dynamic characters that viewers can connect with. While many can enjoy the film, the Blu-Ray is lacking when it comes to extras and special features. Regardless of that fact, "Stonehearst Asylum" is sure to satisfy on many levels.