Stars: Whitney Anderson, Yeniffer Behrens, Mauricio Mendoza, Christopher Allen-Nelson, Kara Luiz, Michael G. Coleman, Caroline Mann, Paul Dietz, Mike Jerome Putnam | Written by John Rogers, Mo Anouti, Edward Conna | Directed by John Rogers
Not to be confused with the 2013 film of the same name, which was pulled from Tesco shelves after customer complaints over its graphic sex and violence, this iteration of The Hospital is actually a retitling of 2015′s The Linda Vista Project from director John (J.J.) Rogers – who has worked behind the scenes on numerous DTV horror flicks previously, however this marks his directorial debut in the genre.
[Sidenote: The Hospital was also touted as a possible supermarket-friendly title for the UK release of Dustin Mills' The Ballad of Skinless Pete, at least until the UK distributor, now a favourite with genre fans, reneged on the contract and the film never saw the light of day]
The Hospital follows paranormal researcher Emily Strand (Whitney Anderson; Zombie Strippers, Toolbox Murders 2), who is given a chance to prove the existence of the supernatural at the now derelict Linda Vista Hospital. Rumours and claims of spectral activity have surrounded the former hospital since it was first built and Emily is determined to record evidence of it once and for all. Her intention is to spend the night in the creepy medical institution but very soon Emily and her team start to register strange phenomena and are terrorised by a malevolent spirit who, it seems, doesn’t like visitors.
Yet another direct to market film that, despite conforming to the tropes of the genre, still manages to have an original idea or two buried within all the cliches. In the case of The Hospital its the idea that an elemental demon has been living in the hospital, eating the souls of those that have died there and tormenting the spirits that still linger there. As for the rest of the film… Well it looks and feels a LOT cheaper than its million-dollar budget belies.
There are drops in audio quality on multiple occassions as well as some terrible echoes from the boom mic in some scenes. Surely some of the budget could have been spent on even a modicum of ADR? Then there are scens that have overly loud sound effects (be they foley or shot in cam). In both cases the lack of quality audio brings the audience totally out of the film, spoiling the films tense moments.
And that’s the thing, The Hospital does successfully bring the tension. There are moments, in particular the jump scares, that are very effective. But when these do occur, thanks to some poor scripting ,the characters will often down play the terror. You have to wonder if the filmmakers knew how to make a scary movie? Horror audiences know that terms scares are followed by moments of quiet to allow the audience to recover from the fright, but to do that literally moments after a scare occurs, lessening the impact? That’s just sloppy filmmaking.
Whilst the final quarter of the film sees our cast screaming and running around the hospital, overall the ending feels rushed, almost as if it was written on the fly, with zero build-up. There are some final intertitles that update the story of the paranormal crew and the hospital, as if this film is based on a true story, but if you believe that you’ll believe anything! Although by coincidence this film was actually shot at the abandoned former Linda Vista Hospital which has been called haunted by the many, many film crews that have shot movies there (it’s a popular filming location in L.A.). Which would have made for a more interesting story than this…
The Hospital is out now on DVD from Safecracker Pictures.