Friday, August 9, 2013

Freaky Friday: Greystone Park

Greystone Park opens with a semi ominous warning from an old woman (grandmother?) not to visit this abandoned asylum. It cuts to a new scene that flashes "Two weeks ago". Then, it's followed by a quick series of a ghost hunting team investigating the asylum interspersed with news footage of the mental hospital's operating days - people screaming, twitching from electro shock therapy, and crying. This opening detracts more than it adds as I have no connection with the characters, so I really don't care yet what happens to them.
The film flashes to the back story of the ghost hunting team. A groups sits around a table telling "ghost" stories, then we're in a library and told a Medusa myth, and finally we're in the car listening to them argue about legends and folklore. Yawn.  I'm already bored and we're only about ten minutes in. Doesn't bode well.

The most exciting event thus far is that hubs and I recognized the area in Jersey they filmed at least part--if not all--of the film. Hubs wanted to turn it off fifteen minutes after it started, but I argued to wait until they got to the asylum. My bad.
We get yet more back story about the asylum, while they play with knives and a "real" Spartan sword (I wish I was joking, but no. Apparently, the director has a penchant for Greek myths.) All of which is boring, since it's being told and not shown. And we're still not at the mental hospital at the twenty minute mark.

When we finally get to the asylum, hubs remarks, "Why would the lights be on?" In uncanny timing, one of the characters asks the same thing! To which the other replies, "It's the generators." Um. Okay. Why would generators be on in an abandoned building? Sadly, no one answers my question. They also have to walk through a graveyard (it's the only way in) and disarm a motion detector. I had no idea abandoned buildings had such great security. Although, personally, I think a moat would be much better than a graveyard, preferably filled with alligators. Since we know alligators are indigenous to Jersey. ;)
Beware the Jersey Gator!
Oh look, we're in the asylum. Only took twenty-five minutes into our ninety minute movie. I guess I should pay attention now. Bathtub. Drawing of a face with no eyes. Hey, another drawing with the Freemason symbol.Why do they always get a bad wrap? Anyway, they also found a cassette , doll heads, and mannequin legs. Double yawn.
Dolls, dolls, everywhere.
Flickering lights. Shaking camera. Babbling ghost hunter. The old time horror music is a nice throwback. Now, an insistence by one of the crew that "they have to go to the kitchen". "Why?" the other asks. "Cause that's where they eat." Oooo...kay. The newest theory is the people got turned into dolls. And they find a raggedy Ann doll. And then, more dolls. And yet...more dolls. Next, they find a spot to play the cassette. Flapper style Jazz music. Text message from unknown people aka ghosts reading, "Jesus wept". He's not the only one. I'm about ready to cry from boredom.

The best part of Greystone Park is this dark figure that keeps appearing on camera, but the characters can't see. Alas, the facts behind the mental facility (see PS below) and the making of this film's extra info (check out interviews with director, Sean Stone aka Oliver Stone's son) are better than the actual movie.

Rating: D

PS Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital was an actual mental hospital in New Jersey. It closed in 2003, a decision by the governor, due to negative press. Incidents of sexual abuse, poor patient care, and overcrowding prompted the closure.  A new operating facility bearing the same name stands on the original grounds.

What do you think of the documentary style horror flicks? How about Stone's take on it, "meta-realism"?


  1. Wow. I will be sure to avoid this one. That is- unless I'm having some insomnia issues.

  2. Wow, a D, I'll definitely avoid this one. For the most part, I HATE documentary style horror movies. They just feel too fake and lazy to me. Thanks for the review!