Archive for the ‘The Asylum’ Category

*NOTE* You’ll find that this article has significantly less pictures than usual. Turns out a Google image search for “Jailbait Movie” brings up some interesting and unrelated results.

I’m always on the lookout for new or unusual comic book related films and TV shows. Naturally, my interest was piqued when I noticed a movie that prominently declared “Based on the Graphic Novel” when browsing Netflix. I did some quick searches via IMDb, Wikipedia and Film Aficionado but couldn’t find much on said film or the comic on which it is supposedly based. Regardless, when I discovered the DVD at Hastings for $1.99, I snatched it up. All hope for anything resembling a decent film was dashed as soon as I saw that this production was the work of The Asylum.

For the uninitiated, The Asylum is a production company that specializes in confusion. They make “Mockbusters”. Cheap films with misleading titles designed to capitalize on whatever’s popular at the time. When Transformers came out in theatres, they released Transmorphers on DVD. When Snakes on a Plane was released, they created Snakes on a Train. Speed Racer, Street Racer. The Hobbit, Age of the Hobbits. I Am Legend, I Am Omega. The list, humorously, goes on and on and on.

Such is the cinematic pedigree of Jailbait. But it’s based on a comic, right? How is that ripping anything off? Well, a giant red-flag on that front is the fact that there is only a single credited writer on this film. There’s no “Based on…” credit which, theoretically, every comic-based movie should have. After some quick research, I found that this was, in fact, NOT based on anything. It was made to ride on the coat-tales of the wildly popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black (the cover even draws the comparison). They slapped the “graphic novel” tagline on this piece of trash and then just hastily created a comic tie-in after the fact (probably in an effort to cast a wider marketing net). The book on which this is “based” is titled 17 and Life: Jailbait. Hilariously, it’s published by The Asylum’s own comic book department. Which apparently is something that actually exists. I would post an image of the comic’s cover, but this is a respectable blog and I’d like to keep it that way.

But all of this begs the question, “How is the actual movie?” In short, it’s awful. The film is about a 17 year old girl (that is noticeably played by a muuuuch older actress) who accidentally kills her sexually abusive step-father. So she’s sent to juvie…which is portrayed as a high-security prison. The story tries really hard to be exploitative and, oddly enough, fails miserably at it. I didn’t think it was hard to make an exploitation film, and it may not be, but it’s clearly just hard enough. It’s amateurishly shot, lit, scored and edited. And that’s pretty much par for The Asylum.

I don’t say this much, but you should seriously not watch this movie. It’s boring, derivative and clearly made to cash in on something better. Just go watch an actual exploitation movie if you’re in the mood for one. And if you’re interested in prison drama, go watch Orange is the New Black. It’s pretty good.

In a largely fruitless attempt to discover some silver lining from this huge storm cloud, I came to a conclusion. I think it says something about the legitimacy of comic movies as a genre when they’re being aped from to sell trash like this. And, in a way, that tells a story that box office receipts can’t. Comic movies don’t just make money, they also have a level of credibility that makes others want to steal from them. That’s something, right?

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