Doppelgangers are like paranormal evil doubles of living persons. The term in German means double walker. Some believes a person dies whenever he meets his doppelganger. I guess one dies from total shock if one encounters his self. There are a number of doppelganger stories in the Philippines as recounted during the popular run of True Philippine Ghost Stories series. In his latest film tackling the paranormal side of life, Chito Rono re-interprets the concept the doppelganger. The Healing is the gorier sister of Feng Shui. Do not be fooled by the film poster (not the most pleasing Star Cinema poster) nor the trailer because it is bloodier than one imagines. The Movie Television Review and Classification Board released two ratings for The Healing: R-13 and R-18. Choose the latter.
Seth (Vilma Santos) brought her father (Robert Arevalo) to a faith healer (Daria Ramirez) as an alternative cure to his lingering illness. After drinking the prescribed herbal tea, her father recovered. When word got out, her neighbors persuaded her to accompany them to the faith healer. His son Jed (Martin Del Rosario) also asked her to take his half-sister Cookie (Kim Chiu) who is suffering from a debilitating kidney disease. Like mass miracle, all of her neighbors and her stepdaughter were cured until Death claimed them in a most horrible manner.
Star Cinema seems bent on producing a hit horror film. Not only did they get the box-office tested services of Rono (Feng Shui, Sukob and T2) but also directors Richard Somes (Shake Rattle and Roll 13 and Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang) and Jerrold Tarog (Shake Rattle and Roll 12, 13 and Aswang) are part of the production team. That is like a horror film dream team. If there is a conscious effort to produce something big then one should look at the star – The Star for All Seasons. Vilma Santos is entering her fifth decade in the business and is marking it with a horror flick for – let us face it – the studio that revived her career.
I like The Healing then The Killing transformation. There is something insane in violently killing a person who recentlty underwent faith healing session because of its cruel twist of fate. You get healed by the graces of heaven then get killed by fires of hell. Insane.
I like the reason behind the cursed deaths. Not to spoil things up but it is an interpretation of the concept of violating the laws of nature. Nature corrects herself once her iron-clad rules are broken.
I like the gore. I smiled throughout the blood and entrails. Gore is not frequent in local films, so nice seeing one for change. The horrific deaths of the supporting characters are terrific. Stand-outs are Pokwang and Ynez Veneracion.
I am not fond of the ending because it dragged on a bit.
I am not fond of the strange color scheme. You are going to notice it as the film progresses.
I am not fond of the villain. First off, the wig is distracting, people laughed last night. Second, there is an attempt at a Hannibal Lecter-Clarice Starling like encounter that did not work. You learn details here and there, in the aforementioned scene but the oh-sh*t-hell-is-about-to-break-loose feeling never came.
I still think it is an uneven film. Some parts are good some are not. The actors acquitted themselves including Martin Del Rosario (even if he tends to use big hand gestures sometimes) who had to share most of his screen time with a cinema icon. Ditto for Kim. And Robert Arevalo should be credited for providing comic relief. The frequent killings is unnerving at times, a little laughter is most welcome.
I still think Chito Rono is a master in creating horrific concepts out of non-horrific stuff, e.g. luck in Feng Shui, marriage in Sukob and faith healing in his latest film. Fen Shui is the better because it is more focused, and despite the derivative ending, more solid.
I still think there is an inside joke in the color scheme thing so please let us in.
Damn. I changed the rating thrice before settling for a B. The Healing is solid entertainment but the question remains: will it stand the test of time? I guess not. One last thing: I predict one local entertainment columnist will find the violence disconcerting and numbing. He made the same comments for Feng Shui. In Rono’s next horror flick Sukob, the dead people vanishes. No trace of blood. No trace of struggle. I do not think it is a coincidence. “No dead bodies here so nitpick on some other stuff b*tches.” I love it.
MOVIE TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9FSaIzNvnc