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Night Explorers: The Asylum

average rating is 2 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Mar 28, 2024

Film Reviews
Night Explorers: The Asylum
Directed by:
John K. Webster
Written by:
John K. Webster
Craig Edwards, Charlie Rich, Hannah Al Rashid

‘Night Explorer’ sounds like an entry-level job for a Springwatch presenter – and not the ominous pursuit of the online thrill-seeker. ‘The asylum’ part of Night Explorers: The Asylum’s title is your clue that this is a grizzly horror – one that looks great and has an intriguing twist, but lacks in the character or originality department.


Ghost hunters Ozi (Craig Edwards) and Jimboy (Charlie Rich) are looking for their next video location. Having faked footage for their previous work, the pair want something authentic – and an abandoned asylum seems like the perfect place. Too perfect. As they arrive with their crew, remnants of the asylum’s barbarity are everywhere. And as they delve deeper into the site, they discover that remnants are not the only thing that reside.


The most striking takeaway from Night Explorers: The Asylum is how visually impressive it is. For a lower budget B-movie with big ambitions, the costume designs and set look great – with the titular asylum exuding threat and brutality that means intensity levels are already sky-high before the slashing starts. The film is dark, but thankfully doesn’t follow the recent trend of oversaturation or blacking out the screen to a degree that events are imperceptible. Director John Webster has a real knack for ramping up the tension – placing the audience in a stalker-esque vantage point over the crew before getting up close and personal when the hunters strike.


Despite great visuals, the film is ultimately another story about wannabe YouTube stars biting off more than they can chew, which has charged at superspeed from vogue to tiresome in the horror sphere. There are differentials in the film, such as the identity of the sinister force hunting the crew, that do at least make it stand out a little from its contemporaries. But the same pitfalls are present – what is the film actually trying to say with its massacring? The notion that pursuing fame is a folly is surface level and played out at best. Ozi and Jimboy’s arrogance leading to a horrific collective punishment similarly lacks much punch. It’s premise over purpose – fine if you’re just looking for some gore but a hindrance for a deeper emotional connection.


Craig Edwards gives a solid enough performance as Ozi. His hard-headed stubbornness makes him intentionally unsympathetic as a protagonist which adds layers of complexity as he does what he can to escape the asylum. Charlie Rich’s Jimboy comes closer to playing the emotional heart, and the softer performance makes him the more relatable of the leads. Much of the remaining cast bring little else beyond half-hearted bellowing – which given that we spend plenty of time with the crew as an ensemble, results in a glaring weakness as it is hard to truly become invested in their fates.


Impressive visuals and staging prevent Night Explorers: The Asylum from being a totally generic slasher hunt. The story and characters fail to resonate emotionally and there’s little depth to be considered amidst the mayhem. The sound you heard just then is plenty of horror enthusiasts shrugging their shoulders – as well-shot slaughter is more than sufficient. But anyone after something really memorable will need to explore further than this.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film
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