The Healing (2012)

“…Gagawin ko po lahat kahit ano, gumaling lang po ako…” – Cookie (Kim Chiu)

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Basic Information: Direction: Chito Roño; Cast: Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Pokwang, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggay Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin; Production Co.: Star Cinema; Release Date: July 25 2012

Plot Description: “…Stories about the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers for guidance and treatment of ailments have not yet been tackled in-depth in movies. And in our film, the viewers will not just be horrified, they’ll somehow be challenged to think as to how faith healing has already been part of our culture…” – ABS-CBN News (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 9th USTv Students’ Choice Awards – Best Local Full-Length Film – Star Cinema/ABS-CBN Film Productions; PMPC Star Awards 2012: 11 Nominations – Movie of the Year – Star Cinema; Movie Director of the Year – Chito Roño; Movie Actress of the Year – Vilma Santos; Movie Supporting Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Child Performer of the Year – Abby Bautista; Movie Screenwriter of the Year – Roy Iglesias; Movie Cinematographer of the Year – Charlie Peralta; Movie Production Designer of the Year – Erick Torralba, Richard Somes, Fritz Silorio; Movie Musical Scorer of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Editor of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Sound Engineer of the Year – Mike Idioma

Netizens’ Choice Awards – Favorite Movie of the Year (Star Cinema); Favorite Movie Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Vilma Santos’ 50th Anniversary Movie; The Cinema Evaluation Board of the Philippines gave this film a “Graded A” and MTRCB rated this film Rated-13 (censored version) and Rated-18 (director’s cut); Ranked 3rd on the Highest-grossing Local movies of 2012, earning 2.06M US$ (85.96M PH); Star Cinema is very happy with the box-office result of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ (photo) latest movie, The Healing, which has grossed more than P130M so far (and counting!).

100-million mark – Heavy rains may have flooded Luzon but that didn’t hinder to the success of Chito Rono’s most recent masterpiece “The Healing“. While expected to reach the 100-million mark, The Healing as of it’s 3rd week has grossed P85.96 million in ticket sales. The Healing actually started with an awesome 7-day gross at P80 million as reported by Star Cinema and P74.39 according to Box Office Mojo Philippines. That’s only a 6-million difference, but let’s say we consider P80 million as the first week gross of The Healing. After riding that week of wave of success, The Healing began to see a decrease in the box office earnings which may be caused by the storm that entered the country about two weeks ago (while the film was on it’s second week). And with Star Cinema’s The Reunion coming into theaters this week! I’m not sure if The Healing can still make it to the 100-million mark. Two other factors are Disney’s Brave (with 55-Million 2 weeks gross) and Philippines’ most awaited Hollywood movie event “The Bourne Legacy” which raked P110-million on its first week. Additionally, MTRCB’s two film rating cuts for The Healing (R13) and The Healing R18 might have affected their earnings. Like seriously! The malls where I went to watch The Healing are so damn strict that they looked for any identification/certification that I’m 18. Going back, the movie was given a grade “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board and was well-received by moviegoers and even the country’s top critics. “The Healing” is starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Jhong Hilario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abby Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. The Healing is still on its 4th week! – Mark Glenn Cabrera (READ MORE)

‘This one’s really made for Ate Vi’ – “…Horror is one of those genres na hindi talaga siya kumukupas. Once it’s done well, everybody loves to watch horror movies. Kahit na ako. masaya siya eh. Lalo na pag may matatakutin kang kaibigan, ang sarap (laughs). It’s an experience na like no other. It’s like comedy where tawa kayo ng tawa. Kasi kapag iiyak ka, medyo nahihiya ka pa. pero this one’s really made for Ate Vi. Talagang role tailor made for her. Matagal na niyang hiningi ito,” he shares during The Healing’s bloggers conference held last July 23 at the ABS-CBN compound. Direk Chito says he and Vilma had talked about making a movie together as early as three years ago. After doing movies like Bata, bata Pano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada 70, The Healing is their reunion movie after almost ten years. He adds the multi-awarded actress has already proven her worth after 50 years in showbiz. “This is our fourth movie. I’ve always said na nakita ko na ang galing ng isang Vilma Santos sa ilang dekada, sa ang daming great movies na nagawa. Parang she’s one of those people na kailangan pa ba niya i-prove ulit? Yung parang I know she now always demands for something na medyo mas substantial. Huwag naman yung mediocre. Sabi ko the concept of the movie is bagay na sa stature niya. We’ve seen her do a lot of great scenes in most of her movies. The famous monologue scenes, the famous long takes. Ate Vi yan pag sinabi mong three pages na monologue, automatic na yan sa showbiz. Bihira na lang sa industriya yung kaya gawin yan. I’m very happy na pumayag si Ate Vi na ensemble ang pelikula…” – Push, 25 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Director Chito S. Roño is a veteran in doing horror movies. In 2004, he helmed the box-office hit Feng Shui, an answer to the Asian horror movie phenomenon. The Healing, on the other hand, can be considered an answer to Hollywood’s torture-and-gore horror movie phenomenon. It may be the first local horror film to do so, and thus it is refreshing to watch. There is no shortage of shocking gore in The Healing. There are lots and lots of blood; horror movie fans will not be disappointed. The movie is also made more fun by moments of fan service, that recalls several niches of pop culture that seem to be taboo in Philippine mainstream cinema. There’s a small child wielding a ninja weapon killing groups of monks, before jumping to her death. There’s a beheading using a giant knife. There are many more.

The story also offers something new, away from familiar themes like haunted houses and vengeful ex-girlfriends. It exploits the Filipino tradition of faith healing, and the consequences of tapping this alternative form of therapy. What’s most admirable is the fact that The Healing’s actors went to great lengths to provide credence to the story. Vilma Santos, for instance, gets stabbed multiple times that you’d wonder how she can take these intense physical scenes at her age. Kim Chiu should also be praised for her handling of her character, Cookie. Her early scenes when she needs to act sick are believable and downright affecting. In summary, The Healing is suited for Pinoy horror fans. It is fun as it is shocking, and non-squeamish viewers should have no problem having a good time…” – Mark Angelo Ching, PEP, July 30, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Santos’ spine-tingler is far from original, but as it tweaks the narrative conceit that has made “Final Destination” a box-office-busting film franchise, the movie finds innovative ways to establish an atmosphere of impending doom that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats: You feel that something gruesome is about to transpire, you just don’t know how it will play out—or when! The Star for All Seasons decided to make the film because she wanted to add something “new” to her formidable oeuvre—and, with “The Healing,” Santos accomplishes exactly that. The role doesn’t require her to do much except run in circles or look worried or scared. But, she displays flashes of dramatic brilliance when she is hounded by guilt, a motivation that presents her with forks in the road that just might lead to the resolution of the horrifying story’s main conflict. More than anything, it’s a treat to see the durable actress on the big screen again. The horror-thriller genre she dabbles in effectively introduces her to a younger (and wider) viewing demographic that derives pleasure from getting scared out of its wits….” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 28, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The reason I like Chito Rono’s horror movies, and the reason I see most of them in the theatre, is because suspense-horror is a completely original genre, completely divorced from the hang-ups and expectations of movies that involve real people doing somewhat credible things. I remember when Chito Rono did a suspense project DAHAS, topbilled by Maricel Soriano and Richard Gomez. It was one of a kind. Very engaging just like the Healing. Kim Chiu, among other characters has lesser exposure here but a huge revelation. She epitomizes the typical Asian character on every horror films we watched. Her make-up was perfect and she looks so fresh on the movie. Pokwang, Janice and Martin Del Rosario did a great job as support role. Their characters are very important and happy to see Janice De Belen again on the big screen. Pokwang gave a little taste of comic on her dialogues, which gave everyone to catch their breath in preparation to next scene. Martin Del Rosario is a real charmer. Again the focus of the film is the story, its suspense package and for Vilma Santos, which they succeeded. I suggest everyone should watch the uncut version, brave the director’s cut as there seems to be obvious reason why some of the scenes are not included on R13. DISLIKE: There’s one thing I don’t like, they are trying to blur some of Vilma Santos physical feature. That looks very obvious on the big screen. But you will love the color coding (that’s for you to find out). Star Cinema gave another reason for everyone to go back to movie houses and appreciate local films. It’s another excellent film of 2012…The Movie is in honor of Vilma’s 50th anniversary, Star Cinema gathered an all-star highly acclaimed powerhouse cast composed of Kim, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. I am giving THE HEALING 10 out of 10…” – Rod Magaru (READ MORE)

“…Vilma is subjected to a lot of stressful scenes in the movie as she fights for dear life. We have to suspend our disbelief a bit in the scenes where she gets violently mauled, stabbed, hit by a chair, repeatedly hurled down into the floor, but it did elicit a lot of deafening screams from the theatre crowd. Some of her fans feel she should have just done another drama but we can understand her desire to flex her wings and do a vehicle of this sort. When we saw the movie, a lot of viewers were young people who enjoy watching scary films like this. With this, Ate Vi has successfully reached out to a new demographic, with the help of a young star like Kim Chiu, who in all fairness, also does well in her dual roles. For us, it’s a very wise decision indeed. And Chito Roño shows here to younger horror directors like Topel Lee, Richard Somes and Jerrold Tarog (Tarog did a fine job of scoring and editing the movie) that he remains to be the master of the genre who can be even playful with the orchestrated color scheme of the costumes worn by his characters in the movie…” – Mario Bautista, Malaya, Aug 6 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Roño elevated gore in this horror. From a decapitation scene in the middle of the street to a massacre inside a temple, the director inspired the MTRCB to give the film dual versions: The director’s cut rated R-18 and a trimmed R-13 that allows the fans of Kim Chiu into the cinemas. While the spooks work (including a stroke of brilliance of a popped, moving left eye when the victim becomes possessed), acting was also solid in “The Healing.” Vilma, who owns most of the frames, is convincing whether consoling her friends, guilt-ridden, confused, terrified. She’s even perfect as the ex-wife who, despite the fact that she was the one left behind for a new family, remained careful and concerned when dealing with her son and the daughter of her ex-husband because she always consider how her ex and his new wife would feel. Supporting performances are as engaging. Kim Chiu, whose Cookie is also healed but scheduled to die if Seth fails to stop the terrifying chain, traded convincing scenes with the actress/politician. Robert Arevalo and Allan Paule (Greta’s husband) offered moments of laughter and chances to exhale from the jolts and gore. Joel Torre and Jhong Hilario stole bits of the thunder in their moments leading to the climax…” – Kaye Villagomez, Manila Bulletin, Aug 07 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos is an icon and it is cool that she is accessible to a new generation of movie-goers. Ate Vi, this time without the benefit of long monologues or cinematic crying, proves her virtuosity as an actor in a horror movie, a genre she’s not really known for. But the good governor is indisputable as the leading lady within a great ensemble cast, including Joel Torre, Alan Paule, Janice de Belen, Cris Villanueva, Kim Chiu, and Pokwang among others. Look closely and you’ll find her photographed lovingly (by cinematographer Charlie Peralta) in almost soft-focus -is that what they call a two stocking shot? -running around in her platform mules and designer handbags. She’s awesome at looking surprised and seemed suitably spooked when a black crow flies in her face. (I will not mention any plot spoilers because the story is way too convoluted to summarize here, but I will say that yes, there is an ugly black bird in this movie)…” – Ria Limjap, Spot.ph, Aug 03 2012 (READ MORE)

To Rono’s credit, each “death scene” would top the last one as far as gore and blood are concerned. The cast did well, too. Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos. She will always be bigger than her roles. This is not to say that she did not perform well; she did. But, watching her, you see Vilma more than Seth – too strong to ignore. Kim Chiu appeared in very few scenes despite her second billing. As with her performances on TV, she would have done better if she injected more energy into her role. I did not know Martin del Rosario before this movie, but he delivered very well in his crucial role as Jed. I’m not really sure why Ynez Veneracion had to show her right boob in a scene – maybe for old times’ sake. Several camera angles used by Mr. Rono were very well-planned and executed, maximizing the tension onscreen. Like other productions (movies and theater plays) I watch nowadays, there was color coordination in the outfits/costumes of the characters onscreen. In “The Healing,” though, I did not quite get why a certain color was chosen to be the “theme” of a scene. It was too obvious, that when a scene’s color scheme continued into an unrelated scene, it became distracting. Many common scare tactics and music were employed in the film. Thankfully, there was no Sadako-like creature in this one (if you still don’t know who Sadako is, Google “The Ring” Japanese version — or search on YouTube). Overall, “The Healing” is okay. It is similar to other horror films in the way the friends of the lead female character are dying around her and it is up to her to break the curse. If it was Kris Aquino who played Seth instead of Vilma Santos, the movie would just be “Feng Shui” all over again…” – Fred Hawson, Rappler, Aug 12 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The movie has a cohesive plot. The editing is brisk. The story telling is to the point. The jolts, the surprises, the building tension as the plot thickens makes you squirm from your seat. You can’t take your eyes off the screen so as not to miss the details, the foreshadowing, the conflict resolution. From the impressive opening credits, to the alternate theme colors of blue, red, yellow & white, you know the movie is special. The ensemble acting reminds you of such sleuth movies as Murder on the Orient Express & Death on the Nile, where Rono is able to flesh out the best from each actor or actress, no matter how small the role is, whether in a group or singly . I particularly like Janice De Belen, Pokwang, Robert Arevalo (in a groovy role that Sildenafil users could relate to), Kim Chiu, Joel Torre & Martin Del Rosario. Vilma Santos is in almost every frame. It is a most restrained performance, akin to her Urian winning Amanda Bartolome character in Dekada 70 where she has mastered “doing less is more.” As the key figure or the cause of the sad fate of her friends, Vilma is able to effectively use her eyes to show fear, guilt, sadness, even remorse. Her best scenes are when she tells her son Martin to not leave Kim from his sight, while calling from a cell phone, her confrontation scene with Kim in a car while Martin is driving the van & her hair raising, thrilling confrontation scene with Kim, the evil twin…” – Mar Garces (READ MORE)

“…The Healing spends a great deal of time needlessly attempting to make sense of the plentiful contrivances it filled its plot with. Simplicity is not one of Roño’s priorities. The film indulges in so many points that require tiring explanations and expositions, some of which seem too farfetched to be believed or to be appreciated. While the genre relies heavily on the supernatural and the unexplainable, Roño’s story seems too all over the place, forcing everything to cohere seamlessly like a completed jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, the film’s insistence on forcing the details mostly backfires, creating a story that meanders a little bit too much. The key to good horror is not necessarily what is overtly shown and depicted but the quality and the extent of what is left to the imagination. Roño invests a lot in The Healing’s visual design. Practical effects are abandoned for computer-generated effects, allowing grislier and more deranged sequences to exist with absolute ease. Instead of heightening the tension, the computer-generated effects only deflates it, inviting humor with how closer it resembles cartoons than macabre realism instead of fear. The acting is also unnecessarily pronounced and hysterical, despite the characters’ unnatural reaction to impending amorality and death. There is just too little left for the audience. The film is just frustratingly cluttered, serving details and elements, motivations and reactions, all of which do not necessarily fit the material they are forced to support. The Healing is commendable only for the fact that it attempted to stray from the inanities of uninspired horror cinema that has occupied Philippine cinema for far too long. It bears ideas and an execution of such ideas that evince an ambition and effort to break away from tired conventions. Sadly, everything ends up in forgettable confusion…” – Oggs Cruz (READ MORE)

“…The film is, by turn, violent and the sexy episode given clinical treatment. The breast of Ynez Veneracion (as Greta) is fondled matter-of-factly to show that the cancerous lumps are no longer there. The series of death – suicide and murder, keep the moviegoers on the edge, screaming here and there and up to the very end when the ‘sanib’ victim Kim Chiu (as Cookie) opens her eyes. Rono has a perfect acting ensemble to make this film credible and engaging. Even with the limited exposure and dialogue that she had, Daria Ramirez was great acting personified in The Healing. Pokwang (as Alma) was another revelation. Here, Rono doesn’t allow her to take another crack at her comic talents and emerges a natural performer. Everyone has defining moments in this film from Kim Chiu (as Cookie), Janice de Belen (as Cita), Robert Arevalo (as Odong), Martin del Rosario (as Jed), Mark Gil (as Val), Carmi Martin, Cris Villanueva (as Ding), Allan Paule (as Ruben), Ces Quesada (as Chona), Chinggoy Alonzo and Simon Ibarra (as Rex), among others. Joel Torre -as the healer’s brother- turns in another winning performance. This is my first horror film with Vilma Santos in it and I must say that she acquitted herself very well. Her subtle acting in The Healing was reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. I think she should do more horror film with Rono. Like it or not, The Healing is my Horror Film of the Year…” – Pablo A. Tariman (READ MORE)

“…The cast delivers a believable performance in The Healing. For a horror film, it sure has some good humor on it. The humor usually comes from Seth’s (Vilma Santos) father Mang Odong (Robert Arevalo). But never forget that this is a horror film, you when you least expect it the film delivers this sucker punch jump scare. The Healing has a good number of jump scares which you can either love or hate. I personally prefer the more psychological and creeping form of scare when it comes to horror films. Don’t get me wrong, The Healing has these creepy elements as well. The scares in the Healing are okay which have been generally enhanced by CG-effects…Star Cinema’s The Healing is a good horror film which has some pretty suspenseful and creepy moments…The Healing is worth the time, money, and effort. The film is more of a suspense than a horror in the latter part of the film which is not bad which doesn’t diminish how the story progressed. Pinoy Movie Blogger gives The Healing (2012) an 8 out of 10 (4/10) film review rating…” – Chris A., Pinoy Movie Blogger (READ MORE)

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