Stonehearst Asylum follows the plot of Edgar Allen Poe's short story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. It is a story about Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) - a medical school graduate in the 19th Century who travels to the titular Asylum to gain 'clinical experience'. It is here that Newgate meets Silas Lamb (Ben Kingsley) and Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale), the latter of which he becomes instantly infatuated with. Almost at once, things start to creepy as Edward encounters some of the inmates and realises that perhaps his new colleges are not entirely concerned with following regulations. As the plot thickens and Edward finds himself spiralling further down the rabbit hole, the questions seem pile up. Why does one of the inmates claim to be the asylum's superintendent? Why are the doctors so gleeful when using such barbaric 'treatments'? And why does the man in charge seem so adamant that 'we're all mad'?
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Jordan Turner is a 911 emergency call operator whose life is turned upside down when one distressed girl's call complaining of an intruder in her house ends in a brutal murder. Shaken and traumatised, Jordan contemplates taking a different career path as she struggles to come to terms with what happened when she recognises that her own actions could have been a catalyst in the girl's fate. With the support of her cop boyfriend, she finds the strength to remain as that steady, calm figure that has helped so many people in the most devastating of situations. However, when another girl dials 911 from the trunk of a kidnapper's car, she realises that, through several disturbingly familiar similarities, they are dealing with the same killer and this time she is determined not to let another girl die. Passing on a series of careful instructions to the victim, she takes matters into her own hands and goes from operator to rescuer in a matter of hours.
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David Otunga, Michael Eklund, Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Brad Anderson and Morris Chestnut - Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Call' held at ArcLight Hollywood Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 5th March 2013
In Brad Anderson's film, the scenario is one we've seen before, but it's handled here with an unusual alacrity. Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer play Roy and Jessie, a pair of young Americans who just finished a volunteering stint in China and are now taking the Trans-Siberian train all the way to Moscow. Both as comfortable in their roles as few actors are ever allowed to be, the two need little more than a handful of lines and a couple of telling looks to apprise viewers of their characters. As the good-natured Christian rube from Iowa, and the girl with a past who's looking to put it all behind her but doesn't trust herself to do so, the two are ripe for the plucking. So when a dark and sexy couple in black move into Roy and Jessie's cabin, it's all a question of time before the Americans find themselves in a situation they're less than prepared for.
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You can think of Session 9 as a kind of 5 Angry Men meets The Shining. A crew of asbestos removal workers -- played with solid force throughout, with notable performances by David Caruso (Kiss of Death, NYPD Blue) and Peter Mullan (The Claim) -- has the unenviable task of spending a week in an enormous, abandoned insane asylum, gutting it at a fever pitch pace in order to make it safe for renovation. The hospital once housed 2,300 "patients" at its peak, and very few of them were happy. Makes for an excellent haunted house story.
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Much like Session 9, the cards are played very close to the vest here. Is boyish, eccentric "Sam Deed from Dubuque, Iowa" a futuristic voyager from the year 2470 or just your run-of-the-mill psychologically disturbed nutcase let loose on the present-day streets of NYC? As played by wonderful character actor Vincent D'Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket), it's up in the air whether or not we should accept his detailed monologues about life after the polar ice caps have melted. The question proves to be moot, at least for a time. Even if the whole thing proves to be a creative delusion, one agrees with the character judgment passed down on him by his new girlfriend, Ruby (Marisa Tomei): "He's a freak, but he sure tells a good story!"
Continue reading: Happy Accidents Review