DVD REVIEW: ARKHAM SANITARIUM: SOUL EATER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JULIAN GRANT / SCREENPLAY: JULIAN GRANT / STARRING: SHANNON BROWN, RINSKA CARRASCO, MARC EDWARDS, RON FITZGERALD / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Nothing to do with Batman or Gotham City; as well-read horror fans might expect, Arkham Sanitarium is a H.P Lovecraft-inspired found footage horror film set in the titular institution. After standing vacant for years following the arrest of the sex and death cult operating inside, a group of paranormal investigators pop in for a look around. Trapped inside, the filmmakers must do battle with the all-too real monsters and nightmares written about by the mighty Lovecraft.
There's a real dearth of good Lovecraft movies out there – especially since Stuart Gordon stopped making them – so there's plenty of room for a film like Arkham Sanitarium to take budget horror by storm. When the best recent years have to offer is the Poundland staple The Last Lovecraft, you know there's a drought on. Will writer and director Julian Grant (responsible for that other great Poundland bestseller, Robocop: Prime Directives) buck the trend and breathe some life back into the author's work?
Alas, no – Arkham Sanitarium is yet another cheap found footage horror film set in a disused sanitarium featuring petrified would-be filmmakers running around in the dark. The Lovecraft name and use of his mythos give fans of the writer a little something to chew on – but they're small morsels, at best. For the most part, it's business as usual – billed as a horror comedy, there's more humour than you might expect, but nothing revelatory – lots of running around in the dark, screaming at mostly unseen terrors and demonic possessions. Again, the Lovecraft mythos elevates it beyond the level of most Paranormal Activity rip-offs, but name-dropping the Almighty Cthulu and his Old Ones will only get you so far.
Arkham Sanitarium is less soulless than a lot of found footage bores than we've become used to these days, but could have done with taking a leaf out of the great Lovecraft's book(s) – namely keeping it shorter, sweeter and doing away with those bloody handheld cameras.
Special Features: TBC
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