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Madhouse (2004)

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William Butler
Joshua Leonard
Jordan Ladd
Natasha Lyonne
Lance Henriksen
Dendrie Taylor
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Madhouse starts off with Clark Stevens, an intern that wants to get some extra credit before he graduates medical school…  Clark is studying to become a psychologist and has decided that Cunningham Hall is the perfect place to go get those extra credits.  He is a bright eyed, ambitious young man, wanting to change the mental health facility for the better.  However, the administrator of this institution, Dr. Franks, is not keen on this intern’s ideas and hardly listens; in fact he put him in his place before the movie even properly starts.  Clark however becomes somewhat attached to resident Sarah, as well as a patient called Ben London, who sits in a dark cell in the basement.  He also becomes intrigued by a young boy that seems to pop up and disappear… 

When Clark starts to unearth some secrets of this facility, people start to die, the crazies get crazier, and a fitting twist soon follows.

Watching Madhouse was a fun and intriguing experience. There wasn’t anything groundbreaking about the movie, but it was enjoyable enough for me not to be bothered by its lack of originality.  If you’ve ever watched films about psychiatric institutions, then you’ll know that they're usually focused on either crazy patients, a crazy staff or something paranormal.  In Madhouse, we get all three, although it’s the twist that makes it stand out in the end.  I won’t spoil it, but I will say that our intern, Clark, and local crazy, Ben, becomes very close.

Oh and how could I ever forget the little something-something for all the men out there?!  I think Madhouse is the only film that plays off in a mental institution that features a nymphomaniac!  Of course, many people would say: “Wait, that’s not a mental illness… is it?” , but, yes, in some circumstances it is.  If you’re a psychology major and you need an idea for your thesis, Madhouse is rife with ideas!  However, getting back to the point, we have a pretty lady, with some sweaty back shots, getting very handy with herself.  Naturally we have the bad security guard that wants to relieve this woman’s tension as well, so for all of you perverse bastards, you have more incentive to watch now. 

I would have liked it if there was more of a back story to the patients though, because  I am one of those people that quite enjoy the story behind the story.  That’s probably one of the only drawbacks to the film for me personally, but I am sure that the gore makes up for it. 

Madhouse is not much for shock value; it’s a mainstream film that brings about a decent amount of “ewwwws”  and "yucks" to the screen in creative fashion.  Shock therapy with a bit of tongue action (watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean) was creative in its own right.  When one of the other doctors gets killed off, it’s the blood splatter against the screen that’ll make you go all giddy.  It’s creepy enough for your everyday horror fan, but still tame enough for mainstream audiences who are in the mood for something a bit gory.

All in all I enjoyed it for what it was, a fun movie to watch on a Sunday night when there’s nothing else on television.  It’ll fit in well alongside "mad doctor" fare as Pathology and Thirteen Ghosts (although sandwhiched somewhere in between in terms of overall quality).  

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