13 March 2006 | jluis1984
In theory, films should be a form of entertainment. While this excludes documentaries and other experimental forms of film-making; most movies, specially genre films, must not only tell it's story or message, they must entertain their target audience in some way. All this just to say that in my opinion a bad movie is not a movie with low production values or low-budget, a bad movie is one that is boring.
"Hellborn" or "Asylum of the Damned" as is known in the U.S., is a bad movie simply because it is just not involving, and irremediably boring and tiresome. While it has a very good premise, it is just poorly developed and the mediocre acting doesn't make things better. On another hands the film probably could had been a fine or even classic B-movie, but here it is just a bad attempt at film-making.
Director Philip J. Jones tells the tale of James Bishop (Matt Stasi), a young psychiatry resident, who just got his dream job at St. Andrew Mental Hospital; but the old asylum seems to hide a secret. After the mysterious death of some patients and the constant rumors of satanic practices, James decides to find out what is going on; only to find the incredulity of his boss, Dr. McCort (Bruce Payne), who believes that Bishop is going as insane as his patients.
While the premise is quite interesting, the execution of the film leaves a lot to be desired. In an attempt of making a supernatural psychological thriller, Jones goes for the easy way out and makes a movie filled with every cliché of the genre. Of course, there are lots of great movies that are also filled with clichés; but in "Hellborn" every single one is wasted and turned into a cheap jump scare to keep things moving, resulting in a boring and predictable storyline.
The acting is quite mediocre for the most part, with one big exception: Bruce Payne gives a top-notch performance that makes the movie look unworthy of such good acting. Matt Stasi is very weak as the lead character and the rest of the cast make forgettable performances.
Despite all this flaws, one thing has to be written about "Hellborn"; it has a visual look very good for the budget and very similar to modern day big-budget Hollywod "horror" productions. Also, the make-up and prosthetics are done very nicely and the designs for the main antagonist are quite good. Sadly, the rest of the Special Effects are awful and outdated, making a huge contrast with the make-up & prosthetics.
"Hellborn" is a movie with a few good things outnumbered by its serious flaws with terrible results. Hardcore horror or b-movie fans may be interested by its premise but it is a boring and tiresome experience. 3/10