- Movie Rating -

Hypochondriac (2022)

| August 5, 2022

Addison Heimann’s psychological horror drama Hypochondriac is the kind of movie that, as a critic, I find it difficult to describe in words, you watch it, you don’t explain it.  That might work in terms of the movie but it does not bode well for a review.  I could almost stop here and say, don’t read this, just go watch the movie, but I have a job to do.

The movie is really two stories, one that I found engrossing, and the other less so.  Let’s talk about the latter first.  Our hero is Will (Zach Villa) a potter whose adult life is relatively normal except for the fact that he occasionally has flashbacks to his traumatic childhood – his mother was mentally ill and, well, tried to kill him.  Years later, he is a reasonably functioning adult.  He’s out of the closet and is in the stages of building a relationship with his new boyfriend Luke (Devon Grey). 

Unfortunately, the old scars are still present in his mind and he has varying degrees of traumatic rehash.  Sometimes he simply has flashbacks, other times he seems to be living a psychotic episode, being attacked by wild animals.  Scars appear and seem to disappear.  Varying mental states happen at random and there’s a blurring of what is real and what is not.  As you can imagine, this psychological crisis state puts a massive strain on his relationship with Luke.

Personally, I felt that I’d seen the psychological stuff before.  The idea of someone suffering a childhood trauma and then experiencing a disorienting blend of what is real and what is not is really nothing new.  What I did find interesting was Will relationship with Luke.  This is the first LGBT horror exercise that I can remember and where my heart lay was not in the mental burden that Will was experience but in what it was doing to he and Luke.  Their relationship is built up beautifully, and I appreciated that Heimann takes the time to let them have intimate moments both loving and combative.  We sense a couple that is still emotionally feeling one another out, learning their boundaries and establishing the rules.  When Will starts to freak out and there’s a chance that it will send Luke running for the door, there was a nervous sense that these two kids were going to split up.

That, in essence, is what you get here.  Heimann’s script is obviously put together with the characters in mind and with their well-being first.  This is a movie about childhood trauma and mental illness and everyone, even Will’s out-of-control mother (Marlene Forte) seems to have been drawn as more than just a screaming nutcase.  We sense in her a woman whose mind is burning, and although she is largely seen from a distance there’s some feeling that we know she had deep mental scars.

I liked a lot of this movie.  I can see that it wasn’t just thrown together with a lot of jump scares and bad computer effects (although those things are present).  In short, I appreciate that effort.  It’s not a great film, but it is something to be admired.  I just wish that the movie had tamped down a lot of the horror bits and leaned more on the relationship between Will and Luke.  There is a very touching love story here.  Again, it is a moving that is really difficult to accurately describe.  I sound like I’m bagging on it, but what I liked about this story I really liked, it’s a movie with substance.  See it and decide for yourself.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Horror