Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘Stonehearst Asylum’ is an Example of Old Fashioned Storytelling

Review of the movie "Stonehearst Asylum."
Dr. Lamb (Ben Kingsley) “treats” Dr. Newgate (Jim Sturgess)
in “Stoneheart Asylum.”
 (Millennium Entertainment)

With a title like Stonehearst Asylum and the spooky-looking poster promoting it, you might be inclined to think that this movie would be another horror film out just in time for Halloween, but you would be wrong. You won’t find any creepy dead girls climbing out of wells to steal your soul or people who can walk through metal bars. Mostly. Stonehearst is actually a thriller or adventure story with some uncomfortable undertones.

The movie is loosely based on the short story “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” by Edgar Allen Poe, which is considered a dark comedy. While this version is not a comedy, it isn’t a horror film either, but is fitting for the season.


The story opens on Christmas Eve in 1899. Dr. Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) has just arrived at Stonehearst Mental Asylum to begin an apprenticeship with Dr. Lamb (Ben Kingsley). Edward is lead around the facility and meets different staff members and some of the patients including Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale), a beautiful woman who has an aversion to intimacy. We’re not talking about someone who becomes uncomfortable when someone invades her personal space. No, she becomes almost violent whenever someone touches her.