James Franco continues in that “bad hair/facial hair” vein with The Institute, a psychological thriller in which he plays a doctor who seems to have forgotten the Hippocratic oath. As Dr. Cairn, he tries to “cure” the patients of the Rosewood Institute with torture and various other Franco methods, like popping up at their bedside, or calling his work “art.” The grief-stricken young woman at the center of the story, Isabel, comes to regret her decision to check into the institute for help. But it looks like the staff will have some regrets of their own, as things devolve into a Wicker Man homage. Which makes sense, since Franco co-directed the thing. He also stomps around in wire spectacles and a mustache that’s just hanging off his face—you know, like a real doctor.
Franco is joined in the cast by his In Dubious Battle co-star Allie Gallerani and—though they’re not seen in this trailer—Topher Grace and Pamela Anderson. The Institute opens March 3.