Film

Be Very Afraid of Horror Films With Three Separate Prologues

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Have we hit Peak Horror Movie Prologue? Eloise, directed by Robert Legato, gives us three.

First is a scene from the bad old days of the Eloise psychiatric hospital, in which sinister shrink H.H. Greiss (Robert Patrick, well within his strike zone) administers electroshock therapy to an unwilling patient. Next is a news-report montage of a 1982 fire at the asylum that killed many patients and the doctor himself. Third is a flash-forward to another hospital, as a detective questions an uncommunicative patient (Eliza Dushku) about a recent tragic night at Eloise. Finally, we’re brought into the present, at which point Jacob Martin (Chace Crawford) organizes a break-in to the burnt-out hospital to swipe some death records so he can claim an inheritance. The burglary is strobed by sporadic power surges, lightning and constant flares from headlamps, each overpowering the dim wattage of the film’s stars.

The asylum’s haunted, of course — both with run-of-the-mill apparitions (the best scene features someone trapped in a flooded morgue) and by some form of supernatural sepia-toned time travel in which characters witness the hospital in operation, full of poorly-cared-for lunatics. Mysteries of the characters’ pasts are revealed, but Dushku and Crawford are so bland that their secrets barely registered to begin with. (There are only two epilogues.)

Eloise

Directed by Robert Legato

Vertical Entertainment

Opens February 3, Cinema Village