Insanitarium (2008)

US / 89 minutes / color / Stage 6, Larande, Benderspink Dir & Scr: Jeff Bühler Pr: Chris Bender, J.C. Spink, Andrew Golov, Larry Schapiro Cine: Rob Hauer Cast: Jesse Metcalfe, Kiele Sanchez, Kevin Sussman, Evan Parke, Olivia Munn, Kurt Caceres, Carla Gallo, Armin Shimerman, Molly Bryant, Lisa Arturo, Peter Stormare.

The first half of this movie riffs on the occasional noir theme—examples include BEHIND LOCKED DOORS (1948) and SHOCK CORRIDOR (1963)—of a sane person mimicking insanity in order to get inside a mental hospital. In this case the man is Jack (Metcalfe), intent on rescuing his suicidal sister Lily (Sanchez) from the clutches of the mental-health professionals. As one might expect, the staff of the institution, headed by Dr. Paul Gianetti (Stormare), are if anything even battier than the patients; only the corrupt and brutal orderly Charles (Parke) and two of the nurses, Nancy Chen (Munn) and Vera Downing (Gallo), seem sane, although the latter assists the completely crazy Gianetti in the human tests of his great invention, a nanotechnological “drug” called Orpheum.

Unfortunately, Orpheum has the side-effect of turning people into cannibalistic psychopaths, so the latter part of the movie throws away the potentially interesting start to degenerate into a mass of standard-issue zombie gore cliché—all a bit of a shambles, you might say.

On Insanitarium

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