#281 -- Asylum Blackout (2011)
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Ugh. That is all I can say. I hate when movies have potential, succeed in ways, and then completely destroy themselves by the end. The idea of Asylum Blackout is an interesting one. It's pretty much the same as Medium Raw, a movie I reviewed not too long ago.
It's about a group of musicians working as cooks in an asylum for the criminally insane. One night, all the lights went out and the inmates escaped from their rooms and started a riot. It's a pretty simple story that could be downright terrifying if it was done properly. Sadly, it wasn't done properly here. The main issue I have with the movie is that it's confusing. At the end, I was left with more questions than answers, which is always disappointing. If I'm to be completely honest, though, I was left with all questions and no answers. The ending made absolutely no sense whatsoever, and the viewer is left with only theories to explain away what happened.
There were a couple of occurrences that hinted at what would happen in the end, but none of them panned out. First, there was George, the main character. At the first of the movie, as he was cutting some meat, he badly cut his finger and bled all over the raw steak. I thought, "Oh, something's going to happen with his blood in that meat." Later on, George had to go to work early in order to receive a shipment of meat, and the meat was kind of weird. They were shocked and confused when they realized that the chickens still had their heads attached, and the delivery man just said, "Oh, that's how they do it now." Also, I noticed that the boxes the meat was held in was dripping. It might have been blood, though I'm not sure. It was just something else to leave me confused.
There was on particular prisoner, Harry, that seemed sort of weird in the way that he was oddly drawn to George. At one point, George saw him convince another inmate to spit out his medication, and it can be assumed that he did this with several other (or all...) inmates. Throughout the movie, George was absolutely certain that Harry was the one behind all the riots and everything, and I was pretty quick to go along with him. There were scenes with Harry overseeing acts of torture and murder, and scenes where he was personally torturing George. But then there was a scene that implied George had been dead the entire time.
And then there's the ending...There's practically nothing to it, or at least it seemed that way to me. It was jumbled, weird, and made no sense. Maybe the director had some sort of artistic vision that just didn't transfer to the screen. I'm not sure what it was supposed to mean, and it seems like no one else is either. There's a thread on IMDB dedicated to discussing the confusing ending, which is where I got the few theories that I have. Before reading that, I was absolutely stumped. I had no clue. It seems to me that they were going for a sort of Shutter Island type of deal. That maybe George had been crazy all along, and was simply imagining everything. Maybe he was Harry, and he simply created this alter ego in order to take the blame off himself. But again, I honestly have no clue. I will admit that I was also confused by Shutter Island (both the book and the movie), but those were confusing in an intriguing and amazing sort of way. Not a "what a waste of time" sort of way. Shutter Island will make you think. Asylum Blackout will leave you feeling nothing.
I applaud the director for attempting to create an artistic movie that's different and unique. But it failed to relay its message to the viewer. It left me feeling confused and angry for wasting my time with it. But I watched in on my VOD, so I really didn't expect it to be anything but mediocre.
Plus side for the ladies: you'll get to see the hot guy naked.