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Asylum Blackout – 7


Director – Alexandre Courtès

Cast – Rupert Evans, Kenny Doughty, Dave Legeno, Richard Brake, Anna Skellern, Joseph Kennedy, Darren Kent, Marcus Garvey

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Asylum Blackout is a film I wanted to see for quite some time but never made enough effort to find it until now. Blending the slasher element with one of my favorite horror tactics, the nowhere-to-run scenario, this story gives the viewer a horrific tale that can somewhat be explained, but is best viewed first-hand. Starring Rupert Evans, we follow a group of prison cooks assigned to an asylum for the criminally insane. Day in and day out they waste their lives creating slop for the prisoners, some of whom spent the non-incarcerated days of their lives eating other humans. Tonight, the safety the cooks feel behind the wall of glass keeping the prisoners at bay will be shattered when a storm strikes and the asylum loses power – allowing the prisoners to move freely and begin a nightlong massacre of everyone locked in the asylum.

Horror films involving escaped inmates are not uncommon but they definitely do no appear often these days, so I definitely appreciated first-time produced writer S. Craig Zahler for employing the idea in this experience. The first act moves slowly but does a great job at giving us good character development for our lead, George. George is fully aware of the less-than-stellar life he lives – a struggling musician forced to work a job he hates for a lowly paycheck most would hate more. He is appreciative of his life though, thanks much to a wonderful girlfriend who loves him despite his failures in being successful. :tear: After this developmental act the power cuts out at the asylum and slowly but surely all hell begins to break loose. George and a few other cooks find enough bravery in themselves to help the guards round up the loose inmates and bring them back to their cells, but when they learn that the inmates ditched the medication used to keep their behavior at bay they realize they are dealing with convicted killers with nothing to lose. One by one the guards are brutally killed off, leaving the few remaining cooks to defend for themselves with very little weaponry whatsoever. They move about the dark asylum doing their very best to avoid confrontation given they are extremely outnumbered and lack the mentality to kill at will, but eventually they run out of places to hide. Those captured are forced to watch heinous acts committed against their buddies, with their own impending doom just moments away. These scenes were very effective and I applaud the writer for giving us a level of horror that I did not expect to experience in this effort. Then, as if the film couldn’t get any better, we are left with an “insane” climax that will leave you discussing the film and not soon forgetting what you just saw.

Director Alexandre Courtes was fantastic in his direction of this piece, which also serves as his first feature film. His atmosphere is superb and he makes excellent use of lighting and shadows in a film that spends the majority of its runtime in darkness. He excels in his execution of the actors, from the crazy prisoners to the fear-panicked cooks who are in way over their heads. We feel for the cooks and their horrendous deaths thanks to his execution of the kills, and he provides a haunting villain to lead the prisoners in their destruction of the authoritative forces around them, which unfortunately includes the innocent cooks. I was very impressed with Courtes’ execution of the horror, and I am not just talking about his gut-wrenching kill sequences. He was able to allow me to envelop myself into the film and put myself in George’s shoes, and the horror of being in their situation, hearing voices of the insane nearby, hearing the screaming pleas of the innocent being killed in brutal fashion, and hoping to dear God that they do not find them was enough to leave me with a haunting experience I did not expect but gladly accepted.

Overall, Asylum Blackout is a film I recommend to horror fans seeking good horror in a simple but very effective package. The atmosphere is great and it allows for good thrills thanks to a moving story with plenty of haunting scenes.  Great direction improves on the story and definitely leaves you with an experience that will not be soon forgotten.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

My second home.

Department of Criminal Justice retirement program sucks.

He took the movie Signs too far.

This was an effing brutal kill. DAMN.

“Where the hot bitches at?”

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