Since directing his first feature BEYOND DREAM’S DOOR in 1989, Jay Woelfel has amassed a long list of credits, not just as a writer/director but also as a composer for his own and other people’s films. While many of his films have less than stellar reviews on IMDB, I’ve found some of them such as CLOSED FOR THE SEASON interesting, while others like TRANCERS 6 have been less so. His latest, ASYLUM OF DARKNESS is an interesting mix of Lynch, Cronenberg, SOCIETY and THE TWILIGHT ZONE, with an extra dose of blood.
Dr. Shaker (Richard Hatch of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA in one of his last roles) is treating inmate Dwight (Nick Baldasare THEY BITE) who, while he has little memory of his life before the asylum, has some odd ideas about what’s going on inside. Dwight is visited by a woman (Tiffany Shepis MODEL HUNGER) who tells him they’ll be together once he’s out of the asylum. Determined to escape, Dwight finds the outside world even more troubling as he finds himself literally taking over the life of a man he tries to save. Soon he begins seeing his former fellow inmates such as Van Gogh (Frank Jones Jr) who’s paintings have the power of life and death. A detective, Det. Kesler (Tim Thomerson TRANCERS) uncovers some bizarre details of his life and there’s the ever present faceless stalking him. Is he truly mad or has he become caught in some bizarre conspiracy?
From what I can tell this seems to have been filmed in 2012 as SEASON OF DARKNESS then reworked later with more scenes added. This would help explain the film’s running time, which is just short of two hours. But those two hours are filled with an incredible assortment of twists, turns and general weirdness. Characters appear, disappear, reappear, die, reanimate and aren’t what they appear to be. This is all punctuated by some grotesque and bloody practical effects. The end result is something that has the feel of a nightmare to it, hard to follow at times but with it’s own twisted logic.
While it could have been trimmed a bit, ASYLUM OF DARKNESS does keep from dragging too badly despite it’s length. There’s a few scenes that go on too long but there’s enough going on to fill most of the film’s length. Give the plot the attention it requires and enjoy seeing some familiar faces and you should have a great time.
ASYLUM OF DARKNESS is out on DVD and VOD from Wild Eye Releasing.