THE BLACKBURN ASYLUM (a.k.a. Blackburn) ** Canada 2015 Dir: Lauro Chartrand. 84 mins
Released in the UK as BLACKBURN, this British Columbia-shot riff on the backwoods slasher sub-genre follows five unappealing (and long in the tooth) college students who get stranded by a hokey CGI landslide and a forest fire. Multiple maniacs lie in wait, previous inmates of a long-closed asylum.
This movie’s gimmick is the casting of a one-time Michael Myers (Brad Loree) and Jason Vorhees (Ken Kirzinger) as homicidal grotesques named Digits and 3 Eyes, alongside the Soska twins as the psychopathic “Poppy” and “Posey”. The backstory of these lunatics is stylishly told via an exposition montage, but they have little of interest to do and too much time is devoted to the heroine’s tedious soap opera backstory. The dialogue is enjoyably dopey (“It smells like formaldehyde!”) and the foreboding gas station ladies (complete with a cat named Rigor Mortis) are fun, but it’s a repetitive slog to get to some decent, though par-for-the-course gory killings.
Review by Steven West