Crazy As Hell (2002)

The dopey title Crazy As Hell doesn’t give much indication of the quality of this production (though I suppose a lesser film would’ve been called Hella Crazy), but it does pretty succintly sum up the basic components of the story: insanity and the Devil. Michael Beach, adding to his perennial typecasting as a douchebag, stars as Ty Adams, a cocky fame-seeking psychiatrist who decides to live in the Sedah State Mental Hospital for 30 days as part of a filmed experiment to show the effects of psychiatry on mental illness, and vice versa. Soon after he arrives, a man (ER‘s Eriq La Salle, who also directs) with no apparent mental deficiencies other than his penchant for wearing ruffles checks in, claiming to be Satan.

A cat-and-mouse game ensues as the doc tries to figure out what this guy’s deal is, while the guy insists that the deal is that he’s Satan. “No you’re not.” “Yes I am.” “No you’re not.” “Yes I am.” “No you’re not.” “Yes I am.” And so on. It’s never really clear why the Prince of Darkness would check into a mental hospital; he claims he wants the doctor’s tainted soul, but he never asks him to sign a contract in blood or coerces him into drowning a nun. He goes on about man being hopeless and God being an asshole, but the content of the verbal sparring isn’t as important as the tone it sets, heightening the mystery of whether or not this guy really is the Devil. Soon, the proverbial tables are turned as Ty begins losing his mind (Or is he?), seeing visions of his dead wife and kid (diagnosis: guilt over his daughter’s death), obsessing over a lusty waitress (sexual repression), and basically sweating a lot (all-around poor hygiene).

The novel that this movie is based on (Satan by Jeremy Leven, who wrote screenplays for Don Juan DeMarco, The Legend of Bagger Vance and — eesh — The Notebook) was apparently a comedy, but Crazy As Hell is most certainly not, even with — and maybe because of — a supporting role by Sinbad. Beach’s performance, on the other hand, carries the film, particularly in the powerhouse ending. La Salle has the name recognition, but maybe he should’ve stayed behind the camera here, as the Satan character requires a playful outrageousness that his too-cool persona doesn’t have. Maybe he should’ve given Sinbad a shot…

“Damnit, I told them no lemon in my pee.”
Dry-humping the air is generally not acceptable church conduct.
The presidential candidate was forced to defend his position on backwards Kangols.
Granted, he WAS a top-shelf dwarf…

What do you think?