Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Hospital (2013)

The Hospital has been called many things, including terrifying, misogynistic, brutal, and shocking. Some, if not all, of those descriptions are true. Unfortunately, it's also just not very good.

Co-directed by Daniel Emery Taylor (who also gets himself a lead role) and Tommy Golden, this is the tale of some paranormal investigators entering the titular hospital and exploring the building. Well, the two leading investigators (Jim O'Rear and Jason Crowe) may just want the chance to spend some time in a spooky building with girls who will turn to them for solace.. Either way, some ghosts might cause trouble for everyone. Even worse, the caretaker (Stanley Creech, played by Taylor) may see the opportunity to indulge in one of his favourite pastimes, the torturing and raping of women.

With a cast ranging from the good (O'Rear and Crowe do fine, as does April Burril) to the godawful (no, I won't name and shame anyone, for reasons I will go into very shortly), The Hospital could have been a standard independent horror, much like any other. Two things set it apart. First, the level of sheer nastiness on display, especially throughout the second half of the movie. This is not a movie to use as an introduction to the horror genre, this is something for veterans to soak up. Second, the wild inconsistency of the whole thing. It rarely becomes great, but it is sometimes good. When it's bad, however, it's REALLY bad.

The script, written by O'Rear and Taylor, is effective in moving the plot from A to Z, although none of the dialogue is particularly memorable, and everything falls apart in the last act, when the nastiness is accompanied by . . . . . well, I'll let you find out for yourself.

The premise isn't that bad, and there are one or two twists that actually work, which makes it even more frustrating that the technical aspects of the movie just aren't up to par. The audio never seems consistent (a common problem for independent movies), the editing seems okay until you start to notice how many scenes would have really benefited from just a second trimmed here and there, and the special effects are, sadly, atrocious. I do mean that they're the kind you assume someone created on a standard PC piece of software. A cheap one, at that.

The last criticism I'll make is that very few of the characters made much of an impact. In fact, most of them were completely interchangeable, with the exception of those mentioned (and Constance Medrano, who has a small, memorable role). That's another thing that can often happen in independent movies, due to the fact that most of the cast members will no doubt be a bit less recognisable, but The Hospital makes it worse than usual. There were main characters in the final third of the movie that I still confused with other people. Big budget or low budget, that just shouldn't happen in the final act (although, feel free to make jokes at my expense re: the senility I feel encroaching upon my mind every day).

I like a number of the people involved with this movie, but I can't bring myself to like the movie. It scores points for the main idea, and for how far it descends into fictional depravity, but I really hope that the main players behind the scenes take some extra time on future projects to really hone the script, editing, effects work, and audio. And perhaps even get some better actors involved in the supporting roles.


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