***(out of four stars)
Even though you may not have seen Dark Asylum, you've definitely seen this type of film before. There's really nothing new here. Your basic slasher formula plays out like this:
A serial killer known as "The Trasher" is terrorizing a city and disposing the bodies of his victims in dumpsters and back alleys - hence the name "The Trasher". Eventually he's apprehended and held at an asylum for the criminally insane. Maggie, (Pauline Porizkova) is a Psychiatrist and is now in charge of running a psychological evaluation to see if "The Trasher" is to be kept in an asylum or if he should receive the death penalty. The serial killer eventually escapes and causes havoc throughout the hospital, killing anyone in his path.
There are a few names and faces you'll notice in this little flick. First, Larry Drake, who effortlessly portrays "The Trasher". Man, this dude is very intimidating in this role. His facial expressions, his silent demeanor and his massive body type are good enough to let me know that this dude is a bad ass. Once this killer is free to roam, you'd better be on your best game - which most of the hospital staff are obviously NOT. This guy will stop at nothing to be freed from the asylum. Can I say again, that Larry Drake is one scary dude. I wish he'd get more roles like this one. He's really effective and a highly underrated actor.
The second most noticeable face is that of Judd Nelson. Judd plays Quitz, another inmate in the hospital, but not at all dangerous. In fact, when the shit hits the proverbial fan, he's the one who helps Maggie through the entire ordeal. I don't know if he means it or not, but Judd naturally brings a comedic element to any role he plays. He's quite the charming actor. He's very good in this little unknown slasher flick.
Pauline Porizkova holds her own with the two men above. I'm not really that familiar with her, but I remember always thinking that she fit the role right in this film. Her character is constantly menaced by "The Trasher", but later also has to protect her daughter from the serial killer when he escapes the hospital. Although most of these characters are pretty much one dimensional, they're quite effective in all their efforts. Remember it is a slasher film and we should never expect to much. They're supposed to be fun, cheesy and bloody...
But wait! The blood! The gore! If you're a gore hound then you'll be sadly disappointed in this film. Most of the kills are off screen and very little blood is shed. However, if you can look beyond that, you might find this film as enjoyable as I have. Larry Drake is still menacing whether or not the blood factor is involved.
Which brings me to my next point. I'm not really sure why I like this film so much. It is a pretty standard film. Besides Judd, Pauline and Larry, the acting could be a little better. However, I over looked that aspect of the film and just went with it. I think the predominate reason why this film works for me is because it came out at a time when horror was on life support. Very few films that came out at the end of the 90's and the beginning of the 2000's are worth mentioning. When I first saw this film, it just entertained me. I've always liked it. That's all there is too it. I remember seeing it on HBO when it first came out. It's just a great time and I find myself revisiting it more often than not. And hey, if you can rewatch a film, how bad can it possibly be?
Like I said, there is nothing new here to mention. The film is what it's supposed to be: a slasher film. And in my opinion, a good one. Check it out!
Starring: Pauline Porizkova, Judd Nelson and Larry Drake
Written by: Gregory Gieras and D.B. Smith
Directed by: Gregory Gieras