Friday, October 19, 2012
A young psychiatrist picks the wrong place to do his internship. Clark Stevens (Joshua Leonard) comes to Cunningham Hall, a modern day mental health facility that is run by Dr. Franks (Lance Henriksen). He discovers that the place isn’t quite as modern as it appears to be, the barbaric practices that go on there are despicable. Patients being tazered for refusing their meds, others are beaten senseless for misbehaving and he even witnesses a guard having sexual relations with a patient. The basement is reserved for the criminally insane and the conditions are deplorable, they are no better than rats in a sewer. Clark sees a little boy running about the place at night but Dr. Franks insists there are no children at the place. He begins to think it the place is haunted and as he digs deeper into it bad things begin to happen to the staff.
A twisty tale filled with mystery and genuinely creepy. At first I was a bit put off by the overused effects like the sped up jerky movements, flashes of ghosts and such, then I reminded myself that this film was from 2004 when those effects were still fairly new and much more effective. The opening sequence of the film is a barrage of these effects so I was expecting the film to rely solely on them, not true at all it’s really just used at the beginning. The basement is so creepy there is no need for cheap scares. Clark begins speaking regularly with an unnamed patient in cell 44, this guy is cool and intelligent but hangs in the shadows of his cell, he seems to know a whole lot about what is going on there. Five minutes into the film I realized I’d seen it before but I also realized that it was a good one so I stuck it out. If you’re into creepy mental hospital flicks then this is one of the good ones.