Friday, July 27, 2012

The Healing

♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Seth (Vilma Santos) takes her sick father (Dante Arevalo) to a faith healer after a stroke leaves him paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair. The day after the healing, the old man is fully recovered and starts dating a cosplayer who is probably just as old as his grandson. His speedy recovery becomes the talk of the town, resulting in several neighbors prompting Seth to bring them to the faith healer so their various illnesses could also be cured. Even her ex-husband’s daughter Cookie (Kim Chiu) is persistent in asking for help, as modern medicine has failed to rid her of a serious renal complication. All their wishes are granted and in the end, they are all cured, but start to display traces of violence in varying degrees shortly after. They also start talking about a common nightmare, all of which involves a black crow, which also starts haunting Seth in real life.

One disconcerting thing that has to be brought up is the color coding thingy. At first I thought that it had something crucial to contribute to the story’s development, but as twists are revealed one by one until the movie finally ended, there was no explanation whatsoever as to why everything was so color-coded. It starts with white, then shifts to blue, and then red, and finally ends in yellow. By color coding, we mean serious color coding, as in the color of everyone’s clothes is of the same shade as those of the production design. It gives off this monochromatic effect that would look cool for a magazine shoot, but does not make much sense in a movie. It also leaves the audience half-expecting everyone to suddenly burst into a song and dance number as though they were in some sort of music video.

Aside from faith healing, the concept of doppelgangers is also used as a mechanism to justify the main premise of the story. This is cool and all, and we understand that the director has some sort of creative license over such a non-existent thing, but the issue is perhaps with the consistency. It is quite difficult to demand some plausible justification of a myth used in a story such as this one, what with the film only spanning around two hours. Nevertheless, the use of such phenomenon seems to overshadow the faith healing angle, which is supposed to be the core theme as publicized through the trailers. In the end, it produces more questions instead of answers. Neither does it help when you reflect on what you have just watched and realize that you could run a few scenarios in your head where the introduction of such a complex theme could have been avoided altogether.

In terms of acting, there is no questioning Vilma Santos’ dramatic prowess, but horror does not seem to be her genre. It is something inexplicable, but of all the Chito Roño horrors in recent memory, those with Kris Aquino in it are the ones that really stood out and performed really well in the box office. Perhaps it is the thought of watching Kris being chased by whatever supernatural entity that warrants attention, or maybe the storylines of Feng Shui and Sukob are just relatively better crafted and more relevant to the common moviegoer’s taste.

The story has several glaring loopholes and eventual dependence on Deus Ex Machina that leaves a lingering expression of disappointment. Vilma is okay in this movie, but at the end you would think that she is underutilized somehow. It seems that Janice de Belen is the one who got the better role because she is able to put her dramatic acting chops to good use portraying a mother who would do everything for her child. As for Vilma's character, you do not feel that much empathy due to her seemingly loose connection to the grand scheme of things in the movie's universe, which easily gives you the option not to care.

This is neither Chito Roño's best nor worst horror movie, but it does leave you wanting anyway. In terms of shock value, there are several gems in this movie that give you a genuine scare, but at the end of the day those momentary jolts are not really what makes a horror movie frightening. It is that feeling that follows you home which leaves you paranoid, the thought that somehow it just might happen to you. This is what this movie lacks, because I go to a doctor when I am sick. And I do not buy the idea of supernatural entities getting toasted by household appliances. Neither am I convinced that Seth is essential enough to be delegated the role of the central character, when all she ever does here is get chased by a lunatic entity with a rolling eyeball. She is that useless, pretty much like Christine in Drag Me to Hell. But then, that one was a comedy flick...

PS: This movie IS enjoyable, just not satisfied with the loopholes.

4 creature/s gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

i agree with this! disappointing really. it's an over hyped movie! i went to the cinema expecting to get scared just like Sukob because of all the positive reviews that i read but was disappointed instead or maybe i just expected too much to begin with all the praises it got et al. pssssh

Sukob is waaaaay better!

ihcahieh said...

@Anonymous - I was also disappointed, more so because the formula used is similar to Feng Shui. I was expecting something new. I could not deny though that I enjoyed the movie, which is the reason why I gave it 4/5. :)

pinoydaysleeper.com said...

sayang naman.
i was hoping this to be really nice. since only big hollywood movies were the ones raking in the most money.

ihcahieh said...

@pinoydaysleeper - medyo tahimik nga news about box office returns pero as per Box Office Mojo, 77M lang ang two week gross, while Star Cinema claims it made 100M in just a week. Dunno.

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