Sanitarium (film)

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Sanitarium2013horroranthology film.jpg
Directed by Bryan Ortiz,
Bryan Ramirez,
Kerry Valderrama
Produced by Remy Carter,
Kerry Valderrama
Written by Evan Boston,
Crystal Bratton,
James Hartz,
Scott Marcano,
Bryan Ortiz,
Kerry Valderrama
Starring Lacey Chabert
Malcolm McDowell
Lou Diamond Phillips
John Glover
David Mazouz
Music by Douglas Edward
Cinematography Philip Roy
Edited by Paul de La Cerda,
Justin Malone,
Bryan Ortiz
Release dates
  • March 1, 2013 (2013-03-01) (Miami International Film Festival)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Sanitarium is a 2013 horror anthology film that was directed by Bryan Ortiz (Monsters are Real), Bryan Ramirez (Figuratively Speaking), and Kerry Valderrama (Up to the Last Man). It received its world premiere at the Miami International Film Festival on March 1, 2013 and was released to DVD on December 31, 2013.[1][2]

The film stars John Glover, David Mazouz, and Lacey Chabert as three people whose stories ultimately lead them to become patients of a sanitarium.


The film is set within a sanitarium where Dr. Stenson (Malcolm McDowell) narrates the stories of three different inmates. In the first case (Figuratively Speaking), Gustav (John Glover) is an artist that specializes in clay figures, unaware that a friend of his has been spiking his alcohol with drugs. This results in Gustav believing that his creations can speak to him, as they give him various demands. The second case (Monsters are Real) focuses on Steven (David Mazouz), a young boy that suffers from catatonic schizophrenia. Suspecting that Steven is being abused, his teacher Ms Lorne (Lacey Chabert) tries to intercede on his behalf. The final case (Up to the Last Man) investigates James Silo (Lou Diamond Phillips), a college professor that designs a bomb shelter out of fear that the Mayan apocalypse will wipe out humanity.



Valderrama began developing Sanitarium around 2011 and wrote the segments Figuratively Speaking and Up To the Last Man with his writing partner C. M. Bratton.[3] He approached Ramirez and Ortiz with the intention of each of the three directors directing one of the film's stories.[3] Ortiz like the film's concept, as it reminded him of the 1973 film Tales That Witness Madness and the 1980s horror series Tales from the Crypt.[3] Filming for all three segments was done in Texas and each segment was completed in five days.[3] St. Anthony Catholic High School and the are of Monte Vista in San Antonio was used for the second sequence.

Valderrama experienced some difficulty while shooting his segment Up to the Last Man, as he the filming location was "the second story of a warehouse in between a highway and a train station in July, with no air conditioning."[4] For the segment Valderrama also researched preppers, as he wanted the actions of James Silo to seem realistic.[4] Ramirez also performed research for the segment Figuratively Speaking as well as drawing on personal experience with being an artist.[4]


Critical reception for Sanitarium has been mixed.[5] The movie received praise from Ain't It Cool News, who wrote that the anthology was "a pretty good one" but expressed some frustration that the dialogue from the mental health physicians was not entirely accurate to how they spoke to patients in real life but also noted that this was a common problem in cinema.[6] Starburst gave the film 7 out of 10 stars, remarking that the film wasn't perfect but that it "does make the most of what it has".[7] In contrast, the San Antonio Current criticized the film as "not very interesting" and remarked that "Wrapping up each segment with a thought-provoking morale would have served the film better. Instead, Sanitarium goes for the cliché and easy way out".[8] Shock Till You Drop panned Sanitarium, praising its production values while opining that it was "too bad such a production went into such bad stories."[9]


  1. ^ "SANITARIUM". MIFF. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Billington, Alex. "Worth Watching: Indie Horror Triptych 'Sanitarium' Red Band Trailer". First Showing. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Indie Horror Month Exclusive: Dread Central Chats with Sanitarium Directing Trio". Dread Central. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Hanley, Ken W. "Q&A: Ortiz, Ramirez & Valderrama on their time in the "SANITARIUM"". Fangoria. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Hatfull, Johnathan. "SANITARIUM DVD REVIEW". SciFiNow. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Harley, Joel. "DVD Review: SANITARIUM". Starburst. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "‘SANITARIUM’ DIGS OWN GRAVE WITH WEAK SCRIPT". SA Current. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Brown, Peter. "Review: Sanitarium is another lame horror anthology". STYD. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 

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