Coming in before the New Year’s bell is Sanitarium, in which three unknown directors contribute tales exploring mental illness, each centered on a patient at a padded-wall institution run by Dr. Stenson (Malcolm McDowell, Silent Night), our host.
First up, in “Figuratively Speaking,” an artist played by Scrooge‘s John Glover (sporting dreadlocks that make him a Sideshow Bob look-alike) hears voices. They belong to his doll creations, and they tell him to kill.
In the middle slot, “Monsters Are Real,” a schoolteacher (Lacey Chabert, Mean Girls) is concerned that one of her students (David Mazouz, TV’s Touch) may be abused by his single father (Chris Mulkey, Captain Phillips), but the answer isn’t that easy. Finally, it’s “Up to the Last Man” when a professor (Lou Diamond Phillips, TV’s Longmire) loses everything after he becomes obsessed with the world’s end, which he is convinced looms.
Sanitarium isn’t going to rock anyone’s world, but it makes viewers’ time worthwhile. All the segments appear polished with production value, and more is done with the wraparound story than applying a mere perfunctory weave. It feels like the pilot film for a cable series that never will emerge, despite the plus-column presence of A Nightmare on Elm Street icon Robert Englund and bared breasts. —Rod Lott
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