Sneaked out on DVD a few days before Christmas after Lions Gate Films bought Artisan and were obligated to release bigger films theatrically, Madhouse actually works very well on DVD.
Joshua Leonard plays Clark Stevens an intern at the creepy Cunningham Hall mental institute. Not long after Clark's arrival, he begins to witness ghostly visions and hear creepy sounds as you would expect in a film of this sub genre.
Where Madhouse differs to the norm is in it's execution. Director William Butler is a HUGE horror fan and it shows. We are treated to all kinds of beautifully realised ghastly visions and the excellent cast of genre stars leaves you really unsure as to what is going on and who is making it happen.
The locations are creepy, with a feaces filled basement that I swear I could smell everytime the characters went down there, all manner of disgusting patients, corrupt staff who carry tasers, and a nymphomaniac...what more could you want in a horror movie?
The cast are very good here...Joshua Leonard surprised me in the lead role, Lance Henriksen turned in another good performance and Jordan Ladd just gets cuter every time I see her.
The film excels in it's use of lighting and gore to enhance the kill scenes and without giving too much away, one scene involving Ketchup actually made me sit up and take notice!
My biggest problem with the film was the fact that the central cast don't really have that much to do and Natasha Lyonne is severly underused..what even happened to her character anyway?
Madhouse manages to take a cliche ridden premise ripe for exploitation and keep you guessing until the end. William Butler is a master in misdirection but to say anymore would spoil the surprise.