Madhouse was directed by William Butler, who is no stranger to the horror community. The film follows a man named Clark Stevens who begins his internship at Cunningham Hall, a mental institution. Clark is young, ambitious and bright eyed about his future as a psychologist. He has many ideas to better the facility that he would like to share with the administrator of the institution, Dr. Franks. However Dr. Franks is uninterested. Dr. Franks says he does not want to cure patients, he simply wants to maintain them. Dr. Franks quickly puts Clark in his place about his role at Cunningham Hall, Clark is simply an intern.
Clark soon meets Sarah who is the resident nurse, Clark immediately finds her attractive and becomes interested in her. Sarah takes Clark on a tour of the facility, he sees the best and worst of the facility, including the basement where the extra crazy patients are. Out of all the whacky patients, Clark becomes intrigued with one named Ben London who sits in a dark cell. I immediately knew this wouldn’t be the last time Clark would go down to the basement. As time goes on, Clark sees a little boy that pops up around the facility and inevitably disappears before anyone else notices him. Then, one night, there is a nurse who is brutally murdered in the facility and Clark begins to investigate the facility’s past. As days goes by, there are more murders and things get stranger with the patients and the staff.
I just recently discovered this film, which is surprising. I felt it had plenty of potential to be great but there were a few too many plot holes for that. When I first watched it, I wanted to know more about Clark Stevens, specifically his background and how he attained the intern position at Cunningham Hall. It was like there was a major gap and because of that there were many questions that kept arising for me throughout the film. And while there was plenty of gore, I still wanted more!
Without throwing out spoilers, I’ll just say the plot gets pretty creative! A nurse is murdered, leading us to the conclusion that it was either a patient or a staff member. If it’s a patient this would mean that he or she is escaping from out of their room/cell, an if it’s a staff member he or she is a crazy person masking their craziness in public!
The acting in the film is pretty good, I have no complaints in that department. And the special effects are great, especially when someone bites their own tongue off. It looked realistic and insanely painful but I couldn’t look away!
Overall, I was entertained by Madhouse. Who am I to complain when I get to see a guy smear his own feces on a glass window? That was actually really gross but somehow almost funny. As far as this film bringing something new to the table, it doesn’t necessarily do that. The beginning had me hooked and while it meanders a bit, I was still entertsined. I recommend this film to you if you’re fan of William Butler or if you’re on the lookout for something new that you may not have seen.
Director: William Butler
Writer(s): William Butler and Aaron Strongoni
Stars: Joshua Leonard, Jordan Ladd, Natasha Lyonne
Studio/ Production Co: Lakeshore Entertainment
Length: 91 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller