Movies with a creepy nature are not my thing. Perhaps this is why, some five years later, I still hadn’t seen Stonehearst Asylum, a period drama that has an impressive cast.
Stonehearst Asylum (2014) Film Review
In the late 1800s, many a male student studies the profession of medicine that is an Alienist. Under the leadership of their professor, they watch as a woman, said to have troubles is put on display which exhibit her symptoms.
Hopeful he can help patients who suffer abnormalities, Dr. Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) arrives at Stonehearst Asylum, a mysterious hospital with a treatment approach that is most unusual. Instead of subduing and confining, the patients mingle with one another; including with staff, all under the leadership of Dr. Benjamin Lamb (Ben Kingsly).
Once there, Edward meets the beautiful Lady Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale), a patient, Dr. Lamb seems intent on protecting. Warning Edward to leave Stonehearst and don’t look back, despite her profession of being “one of them,” Edward believes she isn’t crazy, all of which sets into motion most unexpected events…
To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from Stonehearst Asylum, but did anticipate it being a bit on the “creepy” spectrum. It’s got a “horror” tag when you look it up, but I really don’t feel like it’s a horror film. That said, I did make the mistake of watching it during a late night binge-watch, and it certainly leaves an impression, and spins your mind in a million directions.
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The plot is one I made the right assumption of in terms of its conclusion (early on) just by the wrong timeline; and another guess didn’t pan out. Either way, there’s some second guesses and curiosity, which is what made me continue to watch. It’s this level of intrigue that keeps you invested, and the romance angle isn’t bad either… most of the time. There is a time or two when Edward’s affection for Eliza comes across as “pleading” or a bit too “much,” but we’re too happy to see her treated with kindness that it really doesn’t matter.
The cast is solid and really quite good. In addition to the top-billed three, we also see Michael Caine; Sinead Cusack; and David Thewlis. Everyone is well cast, and if not for the whole film, we question them all at some point. Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the screenplay is written by Joe Gangemi and directed by Brad Anderson. The film is all kind of atmospheric gloriousness; from the first glance of Stonehearst Asylum to Edward’s persistence in breaking free, it’s a different kind of “creepy” that suits the production.
If you like this type of story, or period drama and aren’t squeamish, then it’s an interesting way to spend an evening. It certainly got my mind spinning, and though I did guess where one plot thread led, I didn’t guess how we’d get there.
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You can find Stonehearst Asylum (2014) digitally on Amazon Video
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Content: there are a few tense scenes (like strapping people to a table and electrocuting them, others tortured mentally or physically); a patient attacks a man. There’s conversation about raping and abusing the women; also some profanity including 2-3 (possible) f-words. The film is PG-13.