"Actor Michael Beach of THIRD WATCH, WAITING TO EXHALE, and numerous other projects, portray a psychiatrist/doctor who knows everything about dealing with emotionally/mentally disturbed patients, but never caught a clue when his own daughter took her own life. Moving his practice, he's invited to work at a mental hospital and seems to have the answers for how to cure and/or control the patients, and is willing to do it his way, whether the director likes it or not. His pride being his biggest flaw, he meets his match with his latest patient, played by Eriq LaSalle. Dressed to the nines with a eloquent manner and speech, he addresses himself as Satan and wants to use the doctor's help in overhauling his image, because it's become a real drag in being the so-called "bad guy" in every disaster on this earth, no matter how big or small. From this point, the psychological aspects come in as to whether this guy is really crazy, or is he really the prince of darkness? What does he really want with the doctor, or is this a very elaborate scam? Truly, a thinking movie that runs deeper than the norm, and that made it a hit with me."
A GREAT UNDERRATED, OBSCURE CLASSIC!
Darth J | Somewhere In Time | 10/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Crazy As Hell' is a 2002 movie directed by Eriq LaSalle(who also produced), based on a screen-play written by Jeremy Levan adapted from his novel. It stars Michael Beach, Eriq LaSalle, and Ronny Cox with a few familiar faces is supporting roles.
As our story starts we are introduced to Ty Adams(Beach), a gifted but arrogant and egocentric psychiatrist. In the opening scene that is somewhat ambiguous, we learn that Ty has some repressed emotional issues himself. We learn that Ty is somewhat of a maverick, and has developed a radical treatment without the use of medication. He has taken on a unique assignment; He is to stay at the Sedah State Mental Hospital for 30 days and have a production crew film him for a documentary on his approach to psychiatry. As Ty is settling in and evaluating his patients, an enigmatic figure admitts himself. The man(LaSalle)claims to be 'Satan' himself. As the movie progresess, Ty tries to figure out the nature of the man's(satan)issues as he comes face to face with his own demons.
This movie was released in '02 to a very limited theater run. Upon first look, this movie might remind some of 'Session 9'. Both movies were released in '02, both had a limited theater run, both have a supernatural vs. insanity plot, and both have a protagonist who begins to question his mental state. However, that's where the similarities end, Comparing the two is like apples and oranges. While 'Session 9' has achieved 'cult' status, 'Crazy As Hell' still remains relatively obscure.
The acting is outstanding. Michael Beach does an amazing job as the protagonist, and carries this film. As the movie starts, Ty appears to be confident, although very arrogant. As the movie progresses, he begins to question himself, and becomes unstable. LaSalle is great as the antagonist. It's his job to question Ty at every step(tempter)and eventually makes him question himself, and his ethics. Cox(Dr. Delazo)is great as the anchor. Every step of the way he warns Ty of his arrogance and tries to set boundaries for him, but of course Ty doesn't listen. The dialoge is very thought provoking. The dialoge is centered around mental instability, theology, free will, a divine plan, and how these issues relate to each other. Much of the conversation is based around Ty's personality, and explores his mind as opposed to the patients.
The editing is good. The movie runs 114 min. and is compelling from beggining to end. Like most movies that have a supernatural vs. insanity theme, there is an escalating tension that is reflected in the pacing, as well as the acting. The movie moves to a slightly predictable 'finale' but the exact ending is quite unexpected.
The cinematography is unique. The movie is rather dark with a redish hue, as well as scenes with dark bold colors to represent insanity. In many scenes, there are continuous tracking, steady-cam shots that contain 'tricks' to compliment the supernatural plot. Everything you see in this movie is for a metaphoric reason, and is meant to make you think. Everything from a book on a shelf, to the opening music, to the way the credits roll, to the color in the film has meaning.
The biggest flaw of the film is the visual display of insanity. In the first 20 min. we are introduced to the 'residents' of the hopital, and you can see that LaSalle tried to visualize the insanity, but these scenes(and a few after)come off as more humorous than schizophrenic, and this is only increased by a few short apperances by comedian Sinbad. There are a few other issues like a trophy and other items in Cheryl's room, it doesn't create any plot-holes per say, but it's unrealistic of a psychiatric patience room.
'Crazy as Hell' is suprisingly good, and hasn't recieved the recognition it deserves. This might be in part due to the rising sucsess of 'Session 9' that has a veguely similiar plot. Movies that deal with insanity are very frightening because it can strike anyone at anytime. This movie also explores the idea that we are responsible for our own actions and should be held accountable for them. The only flaw(I feel)is the unintentional humor of the patients; but then again, maybe it was intentional? Regardless it is unbalanced. If one can look past that, One will see a compelling, engaging movie that will leave you thinking long after the credits roll. This movie is highly recomended for fans of supernatural and psychological thrillers."
LOST IN THE LOONEY BIN
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 12/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director/co-star Eriq LaSalle's CRAZY AS HELL is an enigmatic, disturbing movie--is it a horror movie or is it a psychological thriller, or is it a little of both? It's pacing is more cerebral, and its plot thick with premonitions and suggestions. What is it with the hospital anyway? Patients are allowed to run loose in the halls. Patients acquire trophies and brooms. They are all on medication. Enter the idealistic doctor who thinks he can "cure" these people, take them off their medication, and send them all home. At this point, the movie has a surreal quality. Psychiatrists DON'T go into their patient's rooms and sneak around. Psychiatrists DON'T tell the patient why they are behaving like they are. The patient's rooms are like low budget motels, but still very well kept. And then enters the patient who says he's Satan. This is all shrouded in complex scenes wherein our good doctor starts talking to his dead wife and daughter. By the way, he is responsible for his daughter's suicide because he wouldn't prescribe her medicine. Michael Beach plays the doctor with a smug assuredness, that belies a man who seems to be falling apart. LaSalle as Satan has the pompacity of Isaac Hayes, the swagger of Denzel Washington and the quiet menace of Tony Todd. Stalwart Ronny Cox plays the head honcho with his usual smarmy smugness, with an undertone of more. John C. McGinley as the director of the video is cleverly malevolent and conspiratorial. Tracy Pettit as the patient the doctor vows to cure and win a bet on, to boot, has little dialogue, but she has the vacant composure of a mentally challenged young woman. All in all, CRAZY AS HELL is a very different kind of movie, one that might lead you to question YOUR religious predilections. Kudos to LaSalle for the innovativeness on such a low budget."
Michael Butts | 03/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everything about this movie was GREAT!! Good plot ~ makes you think through out whole story! Similarily like The Sixth Sense with its - bits of hints. Watching twice as I did helps to pick up on it & absorb it all better..."
An unfortunatly unknown classic
ACP13 | Fernley, NV USA | 07/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this had to be one of the strangest films i've ever seen. but at the same time one of the best. Ty Adams is a unconventional therapist whose unusual methods lead him to be followed by a documentary crew (lead by John C. McGinley) for 30 days at Sedah(hades spelled backwards). while there a patient enters the hospital claiming to be Satan. so begins Ty's downward spiral into insanity as he is unsure whether this man truly is the devil, or he himself is insane. the ending is spectacular. i highly recommend it to anyone."