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Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

Review by CJ

Director:
Brad Anderson

Starring:
Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine

Other notable appearances:
Jason Flemyng, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Sophie Kennedy Clark

Running time:
112 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Shutter Island, Crimson Peak

 

Doctor Newgate (Sturgess) attends his new post at Stonehearst Asylum only to find himself embroiled in an unexpected mystery and falling in love with one of his patients.

I didn’t know before diving into it that Stonehearst Asylum is based on a short story by gothic horror master Edgar Allan Poe. Though upon discovering this, I am certainly not surprised as Stonehearst Asylum has the right feel to it.

Stonehearst Asylum is a visually stunning film with a foreboding atmosphere and beautifully ghastly set designs. A lot of tone in the film is set by the visual aspect of the film, whether it be the lighting, scene setting or costumes. These effects are used in Stonehearst Asylum, well, effectively.

I loved Kate Beckinsale’s performance as asylum inmate Eliza Graves. Beckinsale gives the performance a great mixture of Victorian timidness and fear with a splash of strength that makes the characters a formidable protagonist.

David Thewlis is someone who I have been seeing in increasingly disturbing roles after many years of only knowing his portrayal of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series. I must say, I am quite impressed and his performance in Stonehearst Asylum only furthers that sentiment.

Ben Kingsley’s performance as Doctor Lamb is also remarkable. The rest of the cast do an admirable job but those three actors are easily the stand out performers in Stonehearst Asylum.

There is a twist in the tale of Stonehearst Asylum and, while I can’t say it was a particularly surprising one, I found it to be quite entertaining.

As far as horror mysteries set in Victorian times and/or asylums, Stonehearst Asylum has certainly earned respect as an interesting take on the genres. In terms of memorability and rewatchability, I don’t see Stonehearst Asylum having much of either. But it is certainly worth spending a couple of hours watching on a rainy day when the mood is set just right.

Rating:

“Believe nothing that you hear. And only one-half of what you see.”

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