DECEMBER 28, 2009
I had actually picked up Psycho Ward a couple weeks ago, and then put it back because it sounded a bit too much like Prison Of The Psychotic Damned, and I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just that film with a new title. But it wasn’t, so I picked it up today, and I was amazed to see how similar the two films were at times. I would investigate further, but both films are so lousy that it’s not really worth my effort.
Both films concern a group of young folks investigating a condemned facility for the insane, both have a guy filming everything with his DV camera, both have someone rambling on and on about the history of the place early on (before we’re given any reason to give a shit about anyone in the film - not that we ever do anyway)... hell, they both even have Wizard of Oz references (though Psycho Ward gets the edge for having it by “My pretties!” instead of “We’re not in Kansas anymore...”).
They also both have horrid nu-metal songs on the soundtrack, but Psycho Ward’s score is comprised of the same shit (I can’t remember, maybe Psychotic Damned’s was too). I’m not sure why anyone would think that this sort of sound would work in a slow paced slasher film, but it most certainly does not. It might work over zombie attack scenes or something, but not people running from a slasher in a mask.
And there’s just the one slasher. They set up a few (inmates of the titular locale), but only one of them is actually still around killing folks, which is a bummer as it would have probably been a better movie had there been a few killers (shades of Alone In The Dark). Some of the kills are OK (love the sledgehammer bit), but they are few and far between, so at least if there were a couple of different killers it would spice things up a bit.
The only thing about the movie that I really liked was that the movie’s Noonan, a girl named Lisa, turns out to be the final girl (though she gets killed too - another nice touch, would be better if I actually liked any of the characters though). When the protagonists are all being introduced, they name check each one except for Lisa, who I wasn’t even aware was in the scene until a few minutes later. So I assumed she was just there to round things out (to six) and be the first to go, but nope. And she never exhibits much Final Girl behavior, so it sort of looks like she survived simply because she was too much of a wallflower for even the killer to notice. And the girls tend to get it worse than the guys, so maybe writer Chris Lee Thompson just has some issues.
I was also tickled by the character of Studds talking about his website. He claims he had 500 hits last month, which is a pitiful number when you consider HMAD (hardly a very well-known website) gets double that a day. And he’s offering sexy photos! I just review shitty movies like this.
But the movie’s biggest crime (besides being so woefully generic that I can already barely recall any plot specifics) is being set in an asylum, because all it did was remind me of how much I would rather be playing Arkham Asylum, which I got for Christmas (I always skip a few games throughout the year so that my wife has something to buy me for Christmas and my birthday). What a fucking kickass game. I always dig games that mix things up, and AA doesn’t disappoint - you get platforming sequences, stealth sequences, fighting, puzzle solving, even some light RPG elements (upgradeable weapons). And you do it all as Batman, who is, as far as I’m concerned, the most awesome dude in history. My only gripe is that they keep mentioning all of these villains but you don’t get to fight or even interact with them - no Two-Face, no Riddler, no Freeze, etc. And Harley Quinn keeps fucking around with you but you never get to actually fight her either, which is weak. Lego Batman had all of these folks and let you throw down with them! However, a sequel is already in production, so I assume we will get to take on some of them then. And you can be assured that I won’t wait around for a holiday to get my hands on it!
Anyway, Psycho Ward kind of sucks. But it did have a trailer for a pretty cool looking movie called Shattered Lives, so I guess my rental wasn't a total waste of time. And one of the Gen-terns from Repo popped up as some fodder, so that's cool.
What say you?