The Lost Episode (2012)

The Lost Episode is a laughably terrible, hugely mismarketed, giant horror cliché. It makes no sense, is poorly acted, appallingly scripted and simply very very dull. I’ve had scarier trips to the toilet.

Abandoned mental institutions have become the new clichéd place to make a horror film. From The House of Haunted Hill to The Lost Episode, filmmakers have used them as settings for their creepy horrors for decades, with varying results, and recently – thanks to found footage – they’ve become increasingly more popular: ready-made setting, easy plot, cheap to make.

Unfortunately The Lost Episode is perhaps the worst effort I have ever seen, and I’ve watched The Paranormal Incident.

Welcome to Pennhurst Asylum, population zero. Closed down years ago, the asylum has remained abandoned until recently, when some genius tastefully decided to begin turning it into an amusement park “ghost house”.

A group of idiot teens, keen to check out the asylum before it’s fully converted into a commercial enterprise, decide to break in… but all they find are some plastic corpse dummies set up in two rooms. With no security. Or locked doors.

Now… The Lost Episode is really oddly constructed. We begin with a missing teen murdering the asylum’s security guard. Then we skip to a group of six teenagers checking the abandoned asylum out. Then we cut to a flashback of the asylum when it was open (and ran by pantomime villains, apparently). Then we jump back to the teenagers, who mention about a missing film crew. Then flashback to the missing film crew! Which is apparently our story. Wait, no it’s not! The story is about a kid telling a story to us, which we watch unfold. Or is it?!

Bored yet? This ‘teenager telling a ghost story’ is an interesting narrative arc, but it’s completely mismanaged by everyone involved. Frustratingly, there’s a semblance of a good idea here somewhere, but it’s so incompetently constructed that it is instantly squandered and killed.

Where does the fault lie? Literally everywhere, but certainly starting with the script, which was clearly broth-spoiled by Joe Nelms, Sue Bailey and John Cody Fasano. The multiple writers does not surprise me, as the film feels like it’s several (incredibly poor) films stitched together into one awkward movie.

The Lost Episode is lazily written and cripplingly dull in places. It uses every possible cliché available to it, almost to the point of parody, with creepy girls singing ring-a-ring-a-roses to the asylum having a “history of violence and death”.

Apparently one of the wards was used to house the severely disabled patients, but the good idea turned into a nightmare of beatings, rapes, castrations, psychotropic drug testing, mental abuse, physical abuse… and the doctors even used the patients to make clothes so they could sell them to local businessmen. I mean, what?!

There are tonnes of characters available in The Lost Episode and – somehow – not a single one of them is compelling. The film crew is generic, the students even more generic and the ridiculous Native American Indian caretaker is utterly absurd (and clearly a pointless reference to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).

Sadly the characters are played poorly by all the actors involved, from Haylie Duff to and (the usually-awesome) Michael Rooker, each and every actor struggles with the The Lost Episode’s baffling and confused script.

The dialogue is absolutely fucking abysmal too, especially from the ‘teens’ who have clearly never met before. It is genuinely hilarious in places – albeit accidentally – with some of the dialogue and scares being laugh-out-loud awful (the “Help Me” that magically appearing in the bath is very funny, mainly because it looks like a graphic designer wrote it in MS Paint).

In fact, literally every single aspect of The Lost Episode is utterly abysmal: the acting, the script, the direction, the sound and even the fluctuating lighting states make absolutely no sense.

Even the marketing has been horribly mismanaged for the UK release, with the DVD blurb and tagline suggesting this is a found footage film about a TV crew who get murdered in an abandoned asylum! There’s not a SECOND of found footage involved here! The DVD is a LIE!! And the twist? Laughable and deeply unsurprising.

Yeah, so The Lost Episode is a shockingly awful mess. Perhaps the most upsetting aspect is Michael Rooker’s involvement. Not only does he appear as the character of Doctor Death but he is also the director of this cavalcade of crap. I love Rooker as an actor, from Cliffhanger to Slither to The Walking Dead, but this is a horrific misstep for him.

The Lost Episode is a good idea buried in mounds of turd. Everything is wrong with this film and – worst of all – it simply isn’t scary in any way. Not even one decent jump scare. Oh, it does have some boobs, if that matters (although I kind of felt sorry for them, being popped out for this awful mess). The Lost Episode should’ve stayed lost. Seriously avoid.

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

4 Comments on “The Lost Episode”

  1. Alan says:

    “Unfortunately The Lost Episode is perhaps the worst effort I have ever seen, and I’ve watched The Paranormal Incident.”

    brilliant!that quote alone could of averted anyone from watching this movie, made them chuckle and not hesitate about whether they are missing out or not.

  2. Jessica says:

    this is the worst film i have ever watched. the quality of acting is rubbish and the film in whole is poor quality, i advise anyone not to watch it as its just a total waste of money and time.

  3. Hannah says:

    I agree, complete waste of time. Do not waste your good time watching this film. Highly disapointed.

  4. Kelly says:

    One of only a handful of movies I’ve switched off before the end, and I usually muscle through everything! When I movie resorts to such heavy cliche without even having the grace to go tongue in cheek…. well… you get this.
    All the more annoying as the night before I’d watched “episode 50″… very similar, very cheap, unknown actors but strangely enjoyable.. proving that you CAN go there and still be entertaining.
    Point is though, if you’re wrinkling your nose at the acting before the first 5 minutes is up, its probably a bum steer.

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