The Institute is a 2022 American psychological thriller about a young couple that undertake unorthodox treatment to conceive a child.
Written, co-produced, directed and co-starring Hamza Zaman – making his feature directorial debut. Also produced by Victorya Brandart (who also co-stars), Robert Eisenberg, Jeff Kirby, Chelsea Roth, Jonathan Sethna and Tom West.
The Conducive Productions-Headless Films-Whiptail Wallaby Productions movie also stars Ignacyo Matynia, Mark Lobene, Joy Donze, Claire McClain, Louisa Bradshaw, Jarred Harper and John Easterlin.
A young couple, desperate to have a child, begin treatment at a renowned doctor’s secluded facility. The couple becomes suspicious when the medical regimen brings on psychological side effects and tries to learn the truth about The Institute…
A pleasant surprise – well, “pleasant” being a matter of taste – in the grey-goo miasma of digital-video horror, the above-the-norm feature debut (birth, one might say) of director Hamza Zaman throws a few good twists in with the splatter, gruesomeness and inventive shudders laid over a premise that might have easily followed more familiar and banal horror/SF-paranoia story arcs.
Marie (Victorya Brandart) and her loving husband Danny (Ignacyo Matynia) want a child, but the latest attempt via conventional fertility treatments has resulted in a heartbreaking late-term stillbirth. Desperate to please his heartbroken wife, Danny turns to the internet (not a good sign, that) and finds the unorthodox Lands Institute for Reproductive Sciences. Operated far from anywhere, it is overseen by the thin, intense Doctor Arthur Lands (Mark Lobene, who may remind one of Doctor Tyrell from Blade Runner) and his tiny, android-like staff.
The place feels more like a cult. Clients such as Marie and Danny must take up long-term residence, wearing identical uniforms, consuming only locally sourced food and potions, doing yoga – watch for director Zaman in a cameo as the instructor – and the mothers-to-be undergo mystery treatments nude in a blinking antenna-like array, under Land’s reptilian-steady gaze. Oh, and the good doctor secretly has cameras everywhere, as well, including the couples’ bedrooms.
One expects from such a setup as this, echoing the likes of Rosemary’s Baby on downwards, that a feminist nightmare ensues – women’s loss of control, identity, voyeurism and violations of the most terrifyingly private nature. In a neat turnaround, it’s actually male Danny who persistently suspects something not right, while Marie’s initial seeds of doubt wither and she becomes a happy, cooperative patient. Final-act revelations, however, take things to a whole new level, and if by the concluding scene you are not appreciative of The Institute‘s finer morbid qualities, I’ll unleash a bunch of MeToo ladies to accuse you! Or at least wish I could.
True, the moody soundtrack music is overly insistent at first (a trait Zaman mercifully drops). There is nudity and fleshy fun but not to grindhouse-level excess. The ultimate horror-makeup-CGI F/X and stunts strain but do not break the B-level of the budget. In short, The Institute delivers ably enough to get a hearty horror christening.
Charles Cassady Jr, MOVIES and MANIA
” …the baby making on display in this movie is basically tripping out in a roomful of strangers while lights flash and a radiation machine does its scientific magic, which seems quite out of the blue, but I was there for it.” B&S About Movies
“It seems like a good idea, but there is no gravitas to the story. The film has more of a sitcom tone than a genre film. This is an old school film that may find a small audience but lacks the vision to be reimagined for a present-day audience. It lacks a clear vision as to what it wants to be and given some of the plot points it goes off the rails and into a confusing ditch.” Fears Mag
“While my review appears very middle of the road there are a lot of solid scenes in this film and it’s very well made for a largely inexperienced crew. You don’t become great at something instantly and they made a few first-time filmmaker mistakes. It’s a decent 90-minute film but it probably could have been a much more solid 75 minutes.” Honorarts
“A lot of movies set up great mysteries and then struggle to make their big reveals live up to our expectations, but not this one. My enjoyment of the film stayed fairly steady even after I found out what was really going on, so the wait to get there was totally worth it. What’s more, the third act also goes all-in on the horror…” Horror Obsessive
“Initially I found the lead female character aggravating. Yes, I understood that she desperately wants a baby, but does that mean that everything else in the world must make her such a misery as well? […] Silly, camp, and high on exposed flesh, The Institute is mildly diverting once you get past the energy-draining opening twenty minutes.” 5/10 My Bloody Reviews
“I loved the ending, and that’s a testament to Zaman’s ability to create and maintain tension, as well as his instincts on how to blindside viewers with unexpected horror” Pop Horror
” …the results are […] comical due to a combination of Lobene’s overacting, some incredibly bad dialogue, and the last-minute introduction of a bizarre-looking mutant […] If the rest of The Institute was like this it would at least have been entertainingly bad. Instead, it’s a rather dreary attempt at a thriller…” Voices from the Balcony
For YouTube reviews, trailer and clips and more movie info click the page 2 link down below