Hypochondriac Movie Review and Movie Synopsis (2022)


“Hypochondriac” also features a number of finely observed and well-dramatized scenes that help viewers see Forte’s character as a more unsettling presence than a straight-up villain. I’m thinking in particular of a found footage type scare scene that includes ruthlessly edited nanny cam footage. Will also has a few brief but revealing conversations with his father (Chris Doubek), whose down-to-earthness speaks volumes about Will’s anxiety. These scenes make Will’s self-sabotaging behavior more sensible and tragically believable.

Unfortunately, while the key elements of “Hypochondriac” vibrate with such authenticity, much of Will’s narrative also feels distractingly underdeveloped. Heimann and his collaborators deftly establish a genuinely spooky mood, in part through their effective use of crossfades to portray Will’s subjective panic. But the film’s ghastly atmosphere is never thick enough to be completely absorbing.

Will’s core relationship with Luke resonates through a few finely observed gestures and dialogue exchanges, but his reluctant bond with Butler’s wolf friend often feels nailed and perhaps even out of place. A nightmarish sex scene only reveals so much, because it has more to do with Butler’s disturbing presence than, say, Will’s body or his anxious but horny partner.

Will’s Babadook-like friend sometimes distracts from his tortured relationship with his mother. Forte’s performance is off-beat enough to make you wish “Hypochondriac” was more about Will’s mother and less about Butler’s painfully literal personification of Will’s trauma. His stilted online delivery brings a suitably flimsy quality to his character that makes you want to know exactly what happened to Will’s mother and why her presence still looms large in his adult son’s life. Some of these questions are probably best left unanswered, though a few are dropped without meaningful consideration, as Will’s story is more about his mental instability than his love life, traumatic past, or family. Yet while Heimann’s deep understanding of Will is truly impressive, “Hypochondriac” is ultimately never so relentless or well-executed to be completely believable.

In theaters and available on demand and digital August 4.


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