“Sanitarium” is a feature motion picture that consists of three tales based on particular patients of a mental institution. Each tale begins with Dr. Stenson, the primary physician at the Sanitarium, commenting on the recent arrival of a new patient. As Dr. Stenson speaks, the individual’s story begins.
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Glover, Robert Englund, David Mazouz, Lacey Chabert, and Chris Mulkey
Directed by: Bryan Ramirez, Kerry Valderrama, and Bryan Ortiz
Written by: Crystal Bratton, Scott Marcano, Kerry Valderrama, and Bryan Ortiz
The first tale is about Gustav (John Glover), who is a unique artist. He designs some small dolls for an art exhibit that are more to him than just his work. The dolls are his friends, and apparently talk to him. When the dolls feel threatened by Gustav’s friend Sam (Robert Englund), they give Gustav some extremely bad ideas.
This tale gets the movie off to a good start because it’s the best of the three tales. One of the biggest reasons why it’s the best tale is because of John Glover’s performance. Audiences might remember him as Lex’s father on Smallville. He masters Gustav’s unusual behavior, and never gives away what is to come. The twist is well hidden, and who doesn’t like some creepy little dolls.
The second tale centers on Steven (David Mazouz), a young shy boy. His mother has passed away, and his high strong father is left to raise him. His father orders him around, but if he disobeys there is a belt whipping waiting for him. Things start to get weird for Steven when he starts to see a figure that is apparently following him around.
There are a few problems with this tale. One is that the pace is too slow. They take too much time showing different aspects of Steven’s life. Once the end comes, the audience gets the point, so there isn’t a need to prolong it as much as they do. Another problem is Steven and his friends are clearly in middle school, but they portray the kids as being older, including showing “High School” in the name of their school. On the bright side, the figure that follows him around is a pretty cool looking creature once it is revealed.
The final tale stars Lou Diamond Phillips as James Silo. James is a professor, who is an expert on the Mayans and their prediction of the end of the world. He even builds a bucker for his family and him to survive in when the time comes. That time does come, but not necessarily in the manner James thought it would.
Another tale that is just too slow. They constantly show the same scenes over, and over giving the audience a little more information each time. Again the point is taken, but they do it one too many times. Like the other tales there is a twist in the story, but this one seems to be the easiest to figure out… or is it. There is a small bonus scene after the first part of the credits that will leave the audience wondering what really happened.
A sanitarium makes a good backdrop for this kind of movie. Malcolm McDowell serves as the perfect lead doctor for a sanitarium, and narrator for the story. However, it would have been nice to see the tales have a little more bang to match that sanitarium feeling. Yes, each main character proves to be crazy, but the tales don’t match that crazy feeling because they take too long to develop. Each story has a twist, some better than others. The first tale stands out above the others from top to bottom. It also has an excellent performance from John Glover. I give “Sanitarium” 2 pools of blood.