Asylum Seekers (2009) Review

Asylum Seekers (2009) Review

Whether it’s work, family, terrorism, or technology life as we know it seems to get crazier and crazier.  What is a person to do when life becomes too stressful to deal with?  Look for a means to escape of course, and that is exactly what Asylum Seekers is all about.

Asylum Seekers is the story of six people looking for escape from the real world by trying to check themselves into a luxurious mental asylum that guarantees them a comfy bed and around the clock care.  The only issue is that when our characters arrive, they find that there is only one open bed.  From there an insane competition begins to see who can win the available spot.  Our contestants include Maud the housewife whose not as pregnant as she thinks she is, Raby the virgin nymphomaniac, Alan the crossdressing rapper, Miranda the shy exhibitionist, Alice the cyber lolita, and Paul the evangelical nihilist. The ringleader of said asylum is the unseen Dr. Beard who only communicates through loudspeakers, yet can see every inch of the asylum.  In charge of introducing our group to the asylum is head nurse Milly and her two orderlies.  Let the competition begin!

Let’s get this out of the way, Asylum Seekers is not a horror movie.  It is a dark comedy from its roots, with not an inch of horror to be found.  For some reason it is being advertised as a horror movie but this is quite misleading.  Unfortunately this false advertising really took me out of the movie the first time I watched it.  I had no issues with the comedy in the movie, but don’t advertise me a steak then slip me a piece of chicken.  I may love both, but when I’m expecting one that that’s what I want. 

Taking this criticism aside, I really did enjoy Asylum Seekers on a second viewing.   The strange journey our group of misfits goes through includes an American Idol type talent show and the eventual experimental drugging to see just how crazy everyone truly is.  Also quite fresh was the side love story that grew between Maud and Raby.  It added a very nice break from the craziness of the main plot. The colorful characters (and I mean that literally) clash with the pale white asylum beautifully showing just how bland the sanctuary is that everyone is fighting for. 

The only issues I had with Asylum Seekers as a whole was that at times the movie was too damn strange.  This movie is definitely not for everyone, you really have to be in the mood for the weird when you sit down to watch it.  The other issue is that as interesting and fresh as the added love story was, some of the other characters aren’t given as much time and as such feel like bit players in the overall movie.  Perhaps the movie would’ve had a better flow had it been four people vying for one bed rather than six.  

Asylum Seekers is definitely not for everyone.  You have to be in the mood for an extremely weird ride when you sit down to watch it.  But, when you’re in the mood for something truly original don’t be afraid to give it a try.  Asylum Seekers is being released on DVD on August 30th from Breaking Glass Pictures horror branch Vicious Circle Films.

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Matt has been a fan of horror films since his first trip to the video store when he was transfixed by classic vhs cover art. Now he primarily enjoys films from the grindhouse era of the 70's and 80's, but holds a soft spot in in his heart for low budget flicks.

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