Fantasia 2019: the Madness of Jade’s Asylum (2019)

In the wake of the psychedelic break-up nightmare that is Midsommar, comes the first of what I suspect will be many travel horror films born from shoddy relationships and ill-chosen destinations, starting with Alexandre Carrière’s film, Jade’s Asylum, which screened at Fantasia 2019. During a hedonistic housewarming in the coastal paradise of Costa Rica, the beleaguered protagonist, Jade Williams (Morgan Kohan), confronts her unsympathetic, poor excuse for a boyfriend about his drug use and cheating. Exasperated with her supposed insecurity and her struggling mental state due to a dark and lingering family history, her boyfriend abandons her, leaving Jade to fend for herself and find her own way back home. Shortly after their argument, the group encounters some unexpected and dangerous guests.

Jade's Asylum 3.png

As a fan of Canadian horror, I was really curious to see this one. While the production quality is decent and the film capitalizes on its exotic-looking locale and some truly engrossing gore, the first half of the film suffers from a severely disjointed narrative that is entangled in confusing efforts to visualize Jade’s damaged psyche. Unfortunately, the bulk of the unsettling feelings that this film evokes comes not only from its inability to provide a satisfying anchor in the titular character, but also from the shrieking metal-grating-on-metal soundtrack, and the uncomfortable portrayal of the mysterious, mutated tribal murderers. Ultimately, this one was a misfire for me.

Score: 4 severed limbs out of 10.

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