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.


“Stoneheart Asylum” is the latest from Brad Anderson based on an Edgar Allan Poe short story. You’ll get alienists, a little bit of feminist revisionism and a twist. That being said, the result is a well designed period thriller that surprises more often than it disappoints. Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess work well off each other, while the veteran British talent seems to be filling a quota. While that might not inspire confidence, it’s merely a statement on what has happened.

Gothic horror is such a hard sale for the modern audience. But, there’s an element of horror/suspense/terror that requires a world where anything can happen and you’re not quite sure what’s on the periphery. An educated person could guess correctly at the film’s big twist, but that’s not what the film is about. It’s about a journey into madness in a time where mental illness was used as an excuse to hide people away from polite society. There’s issues of class warfare, feminine repression and all sorts of creepy icky that arrives when you examine Victorian England. While this won’t be a stocking stuffer for all parties, I recommend giving it a chance next to Brad Anderson’s greater work. Unfortunately,  he’s the Anderson that doesn’t get much credit when it comes to direction, so surprise your friends by looking like you know something about film.

The Blu-Ray comes with a making-of featurette as the solo special feature. The A/V Quality is impeccable. The 1080p transfer shows no signs of digital noise. Plus, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track really kicks up the atmospheric scares. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.


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