Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't Look in the Basement!

This movie is cheaper than cheap. It was shot in a mere 12 days at a cost of about $10,000. But even in with the odds against them, I believe this movie is quite well made. It has a very ominous atmosphere, an asylum in the middle of nowhere, where the patients are free to move about the property. Dr. Stephens is the head doctor at this facility, he has hired a new nurse to replace one who is leaving because she can't take the potential danger of being harmed by one of the inmates. First, let's meet the patients: There's Jennifer, who is for the most part catatonic, but now and then enjoys attacking people with knives. An army sergeant who stays glued to the window with binoculars convinced that the beastly hun is just around the bend. Sam, a sweet guy, probably the most stable of the bunch, yet is slightly retarded and has the mind of a child. A judge who still thinks he's in front of a jury. Harriet, a sad woman who lost her baby and now is seriously overprotective of a baby doll. Let's not forget Allison, who for the most part seems very sane, but actually has a love obsession with EVERYBODY, constantly repeating "I know you love me". On with the story. The movie begins with Dr. Stephens teaching the judge how to release aggression by chopping wood. Giving an ax to an asylum inmate just spells disaster, and the judge eventually turns on the good doctor and whacks him in the head with the ax. An apparent nurse tells everyone to calm down, that she knows just what to do. This apparent head nurse, takes control over the asylum in the doctors absence. She seems to be next in line and is in charge now. The new nurse named Charlotte arrives, is informed of the doctors untimely passing and introduces herself as Dr. Masters, Dr. Stephens assistant. Dr. Masters isn't particularly thrilled about having a new nurse around and tries to send her away. Desperate for a job, she pleads with Dr. Masters and is eventually allowed to stay. Many of the patients forewarn Nurse Charlotte that danger lurks, but who can tell if an insane person is telling the truth or just being their little insane selves. An old lady that has been warning Charlotte from day one, apparently has cut her own tongue out. Dr. Masters doesn't seem too bothered by it and writes it off as the mere act of a lunatic. Someone has cut the phone lines as well, making the isolation all that much more ominous. Dr. Masters is beyond aggravated that a telephone repairman shows up and bitches him out and tells him never to return. He explains that he's just doing his job and is reluctantly shown the phone lines by Dr. Masters. Soon we see that the repairman has been killed, throat slit wide open. All the while Dr. Masters is starting to get weirder and definitely crankier. Sam tells Charlotte that he talks to Dr. Stephens and that the doctor is very concerned about nurse Charlotte. Sam also is carrying Dr. Stephens watch. Again she doesn't know what to believe because after all, these are asylum patients. Before his demise, the telephone repairman encounters Allison who is convinced that the repairman loves her. Upon finding him dead, she tells Charlotte that Dr. Masters killed her eternal love (the repairman). She also tells Charlotte that Dr. Masters is a patient as well who like to pretend to be a doctor. Again, Charlotte can't believe it could be true. The old lady can't exactly tell Charlotte anything because she no longer has a tongue, but when asked if Dr, Masters was the one who cut out her tongue, she nods yes... because she was trying to warn Charlotte from the beginning that all is not what it seems. Sam gives Charlotte a note saying that the doctor is alive and very worried. Nurse Charlotte has decided that it's definitely time to go, and begins what seems like an endless search for a way out. What's wrong with the front door is anyone's guess. She goes down to the basement and find Dr. Stephens barely alive. Of course since she's never met him, she doesn't know it's the doctor and smashes his head in, finishing him off. Sam saves Charlotte while the other inmates attack and kill Dr. Masters with various sharp objects. While Charlotte runs her ass off getting out of there, Sam goes back and kills the rest of the inmates. Covered in their blood, he sits and enjoys his favorite treat, grape popsicles. A creepy little flick, where the inmates run the asylum is a scary enough idea to keep you on the edge of your seat and totally makes up for the overall cheapness of the film.

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