A mash-up between The Skeleton Key and Get Out? Doesn’t sound so original, no? Here’s my review of Bobby Bonifacio Jr.’s’ Hospicio’.
The film tells the story of Leslie, an meth-addicted artist who is brought to the Hospicio Nueva Vida, a “wellness center” for those who suffer different kinds of addiction. As she tries to escape the facility, she uncovers the dark, mysterious secret that haunts the walls of the Hospicio.
I have no issues with the story. It’s a solid horror plot, although it’s one that we’ve already seen many times before. Most of the film is weird, in a good way, thanks to the various characters surrounding Leslie. The different oddities of the Hospicio’s residents are interesting to watch, and the eerie ambiance of the setting adds to the overall creepiness of the film. To be honest, I enjoyed this film very much, especially because of the subtle humor injected throughout the film.
The biggest problem with this film is how it resorts to cheap jumpscares when it doesn’t know how to genuinely scare its audience. There definitely are some creepy moments in this film, and they do know how to build up the tension, but in most of the scenes, they shortchange us by relying on shock factor rather than legitimate scares. You get either shadows passing by quickly, or a hand appearing from under the bed. It’s lazy, to say the least, and it’s a real problem with most horror films that we’ve seen in recent years.
Another thing I didn’t like with this film is how it handled its final scenes. Once all the secrets have been revealed, the film then turns to overly used horror tropes to finish the story. It’s all fun to watch, but you can’t help but feel like you’ve already seen this before. Like what I’ve said with ‘Double Twisting’, for a film festival that celebrates originality, this film isn’t really that original.
Loisa Andalio is fine for what she’s given to do. She has a lot of room for improvement, but her performance here is okay. The standouts are the characters surrounding her, and Elle Ramirez is one of them, as the nymphomaniac Maris. The first time I’ve watched her was in what I consider to be the worst film of 2018, and she wasn’t so good there (and so was the film), but here, she steals the spotlight. MM Gigante was endearing as the kleptomaniac Archie, who befriends Leslie and eventually becomes her only ally.
Ana Abad Santos is menacing as the headmaster of the Hospicio, delivering a sense of dread and fear every time she enters a room. Mary Joy Apostol’s short stint in this film was ok, though she wasn’t really given much to do. All the Amongs and Imangs (the elderly guides of the Hospicio’s residents) were great as well.
Hospicio isn’t really scary, but it manages to maintain its creepy atmosphere. The film worked best when it focused on the core of the story, but the constant shocks and jumpscares sort of ruin the authenticity of the experience. You’ll probably enjoy this film, as long as you don’t expect too much.
My Rating: 7/10
Here’s the full trailer for ‘Hospicio’: