The Institute (2017)

Pamela Romanowsky, James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Allie Gallerani,Tim Blake Nelson,Joe Pease, Lori Singer, Eric Roberts. USA. 1h 30m.

A grief stricken Isabelle (Gallerani) checks herself into the Rosewood asylum to find a cure for her melancholy, her dedicated brother Robert (Pease) is deeply concerned about how the death of their parents have affected her and checks in on her and the history of the asylum despite being urged by the trusted Dr Torrington (Roberts) that it’s the best hospital in the country. Isobelle becomes a patient under the highly talented and slightly eccentric Dr. Carin (Franco) and his creepy surgeon sidekick Dr. Lemelle (Nelson). As Isobelle starts to become aware that there are other women at the asylum who seem second class, injured and shabby the crawl the halls, but she’s promised that she won’t have to be around them and her care is seperate but she strikes up a friendship with them.

Her treatment starts well, but soon it increases from the easy relaxing day spa to bondage and torture, where Isobelle is lead to believe she is someone else and that she must accept the pain without question, slowly transformed mentally and physically through deep conditioning she starts to become a pet not only to Dr Carin but the secret society that runs the hospital.

Franco might have taken on too many traits from Tommy Wiseau as this is a bit of a trainwreck of a film. It has brilliant atmosphere, dark claustrophobic halls that Isobelle stalks at night, following screams and howls in the night but her investigations never really uncover anything and the dead ends start to become a bore. I’m unsure how the cast managed to keep straight faced through most of the film, you can see them trying to act but it’s not all the successful.

Most of the movie plays on too many dated stereotypes, where society women seemed to have been bred stupid and Isobelle is talked down to like a child by everyone, the insane patients are all quite weak, the opportunity to really make an impact was lost here, insane is simply a woman who wants to dance and talk. At times the asylum feels more like a special school visited by naked occultists from time to time…

There is some mystery here and an attempt to keep the audience in the dark turns out to damped the intrigues and it just becomes confusing, which is a huge let down, and even when it heats up from drama to bloody massacre the kills becomes incredibly repetitive until the twist at the end which is signposted a mile off, so watch out for it. I managed to get through it once and there’s no need to bother with it again. Lots of opportunities have been wasted here. It’s so dull that apparently Pamela Anderson makes an appearance and I didn’t see her!? Did you??



Rating 3/10

R – Silent Hill (2006),
L – A-Z of Asylum Films
A – Horrific Asylums and why they are so creepy..
5s – James Franco, Eric Roberts, Tim Blake Nelson
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