Stonehearst Asylum (2014)   2 comments

stonehearst

Based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, STONEHEARST ASYLUM follows a medical student, Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) from Oxford University to the titular sanitarium in 1899.  There, he meets Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale), a beautiful and refined woman who seems out of place in the rural institution.

eliza

“…making love to his tonic and gin.”

He falls for her instantly and all that impartial doctor stuff flies out the barred windows.  Newgate also meets Dr. Silas Lamb (Ben Kingsley), an enlightened doctor who doesn’t hold with the treatments (read torture) the medical establishment favor for mental patients at the time.  Lamb is far more progressive and humane than Newgate expects and the two men become close.

kingsley

“And how long have you been Scott of the Antarctic?”

Odd events and strange noises prompt Newgate to take an unauthorized tour of the basement and his discovery changes everything.

oh hi

“Oh, hi.”

Brad Anderson directs his stellar cast professionally.  It’s hard to miss with Beckinsale, Kingsley, Michael Caine, Sinéad Cusack, Brendan Gleeson, and David Thewlis.  The actors live up to their reputations and the atmosphere is eerie, gothic, and shrouded in fog.  I like this film a lot.  It’s more of a thriller than a horror, but the asylum setting and thoughts of bedlam keep it scary.  They could have done more to keep up the suspense, but the lead and character actors play off each other well.  There’s wonderful chemistry between Beckinsale and Sturgess and Kingsley and everyone.  He’s terrific.

ben

“I’m terrific.”

STONEHEARST ASYLUM is a throwback of sorts and I mean that in a good way.  The character-driven story builds naturally and Poe and screenwriter Joe Gangemi throw in a few twists to keep us guessing.  I was drawn into the story and cared about the players.  With a lot of modern horror resorting to jump scares and shaky cameras, this film with it’s intelligent dialogue and sensible characters stands out.  If you like classic horror films with a bit of a modern twist, you’ll like this one.

caine

“They’re all out of crullers.”

2 responses to “Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

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  1. Another goes on my ‘Must See’ list! Thank you. 🙂

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