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'Stonehearst Asylum' has gothic air, can't lock in the terror

'Stonehearst Asylum' has gothic air, can't lock in the terror

"Stonehearst Asylum," starring Jim Sturgess, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley, is a Victoria-era psychological thriller with some good twisty turns thanks to the inspiration of an Edgar Allan Poe story.

The psychology is there too. The setting is a British insane asylum whose troubled patients on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1899 occupy a once-mannerly estate that has slipped into very ill-mannered debauchery and decay.

But the scare, that terror of being locked away and at the mercy of the barbaric "remedies" used at the time to treat mental ails, never takes hold. The scene is certainly macabre with Stonehearst patients encouraged to indulge their delusions...