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Seth (Vilma Santos) and a group of people are talked into visiting a mysterious healer due to all of them having family members with serious ailments/illnesses seemingly having no hope to be cured in the near future. However, the old woman renowned by locals as the miraculous healer suddenly tells them she refuses to perform any more "healings" soon after their arrival. All their ailing relatives are cured completely once Seth and the others finally convince the healer otherwise, but they did not know the healer's warning about having to repay in equal kind everything which has been taken would manifest in terrifying ways. Written by
"The Healing" is a horror film by Chito S. Roño starring Vilma Santos and Kim Chiu. The movie revolves around the risks of believing in faith healers and the consequential phenomenon of evil doppelgängers.
I am glad that this is not a horror flick taken from worn-out concepts. The idea of doppelgängers is not popular in our culture, but the writers managed to come up with an engaging storyline combining it with superstition and folklore.
After watching the R-18 version of the movie, I can easily tell which scenes were omitted from the R-13 version. I commend director Chito Roño for his audacity in this project. The movie is raging with startling murder and death scenes. It departs from the usual fare and becomes one of the most gruesome Pinoy movies in recent years.
In terms of writing, the movie is unstrikingly average. After the first character dies, you already knew how the rest of the story would go. The script heavily employs elements of "Feng Shui" and the "Final Destination" series. The suspense relies on the viewer's anticipation on how the next victim will die.
There were glaring loopholes in the story at the end of film, which makes me think that they're trying to come up with a sequel. I felt that the conclusion was either rushed or not given much thought, which was disappointing considering the number of script consultants from Star Cinema that this movie had when I checked the closing credits.
By the end of the movie, the biggest question left upon the viewers is the mystery behind the film's intriguing color schemes. It appears that the film was somehow divided into chapters with the enigmatic use of color coding. You can see the characters prominently dressed in blue, red, and yellow as some sort of a uniform. The set design, costumes and props complement the same colors ubiquitously shown at certain parts of the movie, though no clear explanation was given to explicate the meaning behind it. It's so vague it becomes pointless. One could be forgiven for thinking that the 'blue chapter' was just a lame ploy to bring into mind Ate Vi's Bear Brand endorsement.
Other minute observations: The opening credits did not complement the material. The use of special effects was so-so. The casting was great and the actors showed some believable acting (especially Vilma Santos and Janice de Belen).
Though Filipino horror has yet to find its true strength, you can fairly say that it has evolved with this film. With its well-defined characters and a taste for gore, "The Healing" is a notch above the rest. It's better than most local scare flicks produced in recent years, notwithstanding its flaws and weaknesses. As a horror film, its impotent scares is insufficient to produce a desired effect. It fares better as an accidental slasher film.
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