Four friends break into the abandoned psychiatric institution known as Eloise in hopes of finding a death certificate, which will grant one of them the rights to a sizable inheritance. While inside the mental asylum, the group not only finds that Eloise houses a horrifying history but also the truth about their own tragic pasts…
Another new week and yet another horror film set in an old mental asylum, only this time and thankfully for us all, there are no found footage tapes to be found after the event!
Now I must admit, I sighed when I sat down and this film began to start! The plot echoes that of the House On Haunted Hill remake, apart from a millionaire offering people loads of dosh to stay the night in a place no one actually would. What we do have is yet another mad doctor from an age ago, who along with his patients and staff now haunt the dark corridors of the vast empty building. Or do they?
Despite selling the film as a typical horror and it does have the usual clichés through out its running time, Eloise is far from what you expect. The plot actually serves up a twisty time issue that took me by surprise and while it offers nothing new to what we have seen countless times before, it somehow gives the viewer a decent hook to grab onto and it does pass the time away.
The film follows Jacob (Chace Crawford) who discovers that not only that his father has died but also he is left with a tasty figure of over $1.2m in his late father’s Will.. Obviously there is a catch! For him to collect it, he must prove that an Aunt he never knew of, is in fact dead and by doing that, he must break into the old Eloise Hospital, where the records are somehow still kept.
With the help of his friend Dale (Brandon T. Jackson) the duo travel to the place, not before picking up an Eloise expert Scott (P.J. Byrne) who just happens to be the brother of Pia played by Buffy veteran Eliza Dushku who I must add, hasn’t aged at all since that beloved classic show finished many years ago….still time for a Faith spin off Mr Wheldon!!
While inside, the four with Pia only tagging along so nothing happens to her brother, all discover something is not right within the place. Secrets begin to emerge from their past as they discover their own connection to Eloise and soon the dead are walking among them, most notably Dr. H.H. Greiss (Robert Patrick), who likes to torture his patients with their own phobias.
With an opening and closing title that shamefully exploits and informs us that the Eloise hospital where this is filmed is an actual place long abandoned and while the walls and vast empty corridors probably have their own true life horrors to tell, there is nothing remotely scary that happens on screen. The usual horror settings are in force, lights flicker, a ghostly figure of a child, their minds beginning to play tricks, if you had a list right in front of you on how to make a horror in this setting, then you’ll find yourself ticking each box as every second passed.
That’s not to say Eloise is a total waste of time. The film looks beautiful for what was no doubt a cheap budget and if you get down to the actual jist of the plot, then you have to admire first time director’s Robert Legato attempt at trying to inject something more than just a ghostly tale, even though it never really explains the timey wimey issues that engulf the film.
The main problem of Eloise is that if you are trying to sell it as a horror film then you do need to have some moments that will scare the shit out of you and sadly the film fails flat.
While we at Hacked 2 Pieces believe Session 9 is the Granddaddy of all Mental Asylum horrors, Eloise plays more like an episode of Goosebumps, that will no doubt frustrate the more hardened horror goers looking for bigger frights and more blood splashing on their screens despite the best attempts from the cast with Duskhu once more showing how she should be a much bigger star than Hollywood has let her, while we all know good old Patrick can play this kind of bad guy role in his sleep.
Its not hard to muster up some decent scare moments in a film situated in this kind of setting, even the hundreds of found footage horrors that love places like this, have created their own scene that made us go “OK, that’s kind of cool!” and so if we are to judge Eloise in those terms then it comes across nothing but a frustrating watch.
It may pass the time away for a Friday night rental, but the horrors and frights are as an empty as the actual Eloise place that is long still standing.