Hypochondriac is a 2022 horror film about a young man’s descent into chaos when his childhood trauma becomes a physical manifestation.
Written and directed by Addison Heimann. Produced by Aidan Brezonick, Bay Dariz and John Humber.
The movie stars Zach Villa, Devon Graye, Madeline Zima, Yumarie Morales, Marlene Forte and Chris Doubek.
Will (Zach Villa), a young Hispanic gay potter, is a really gregarious guy. His boss is terrible, but he’s got a great boyfriend and a great job. Unfortunately, behind that veneer is a dark past of violence and mental illness that he is desperate to keep hidden.
When his bipolar mother comes out of the woodwork after ten years of silence, Will begins exhibiting unexplainable symptoms. After an injury at work, he starts losing the function of his arms, and something sinister lurks in the corner of his vision: a silent and ominous man in a wolf costume.
Will spirals into an obsession, determined to solve this mystery of his own. What is going on with his arms? Can he trust his boyfriend? Is he becoming his mother?
“Hypochondriac is a solid, if not particularly innovative addition to the mental health horror sub-genre, with a queer twist thrown into the mix. It is that queer component that adds something new to the tropes we’ve seen a hundred times […] but one can’t help but feel this is an interesting wrinkle in well-worn territory as opposed to a genuine subversion of genre tropes.” 3/5 Bloody Disgusting
” …one of the best horror movies because of the subjective manner in which it tackles such a common human condition. It is both scary and heartbreaking to see Heimann pour his heart out in such a visceral fashion. The movie boasts of some brilliant cinematography and editing. If you are a fan of crossfade editing, this is your jam.” Digital Mafia Talkies
“Writer-director Addison Heimann’s feature debut Hypochondriac captures the loneliness of mental illness with surreal brio and emotional honesty, and though its bigger tonal swings won’t work for everyone, lead Zach Villa’s performance isn’t to be trifled with” Flickering Myth
“Addison Heimann’s sharp script works best at diving headfirst into Will’s psyche. Drawing on painful realities must have been majorly cathartic for Heimann, and channeling it through a genre lens serves to make its staying power extra potent. A haunting and powerful final shot closes out the movie with an open-ended hopefulness that made me want to instantly rewatch it.” Josh at the Movies
“Hypochondriac is not a film for the faint of heart. It will disturb you. It will rip at you. And it will destroy you. This is that rare tearjerker of a horror film that rests in your soul long after the credits roll. The pain in Heimann’s movie is pure, and real, and it brought tears to my eyes more than once.” Killer Horror Critic
“The unsureness of the reality and the back and forth between madness and reaching for a cure, makes the film seem longer than its 96 minutes, but not in a bad way […] Hypochondriac takes an emotionally honest approach to the struggles many face when biologically predisposed to bipolar disorder or any other kind of mental abnormality.” Nightmarish Conjurings
“Hypochrondriac finds little poetry in its obvious representations of grief and trauma, and its visuals tend to only be striking when Heimann overlaps visuals, experimenting with them in post. The story’s minimalism proves to be self-detrimental, and baffling—whatever was real about the aforementioned breakdown feels lost in the script’s horror short-hand.” RogerEbert.com
“Not since Steven Soderbergh’s brilliant 2018 dedication of mental health in Unsane has there been a film that manages to simultaneously educate and scare the living daylights out of us. Hypochondriac, courtesy of a brilliant performance by Zach Villa as Will, provides empathy and a rich, but painful, understanding of the precarious nature of our brains.” The Scariest Things
“Hypochondriac should be applauded for its transparent LGBTQ horror storytelling and the most authentic gay sex sequence in recent American filmmaking. It’s clear that Heimann has an intriguing vision as a director, although the screenplay leaves something to be desired. Hypochondriac goes down a Donnie Darko-reminiscent rabbit hole that doesn’t land anywhere particularly unique.” Showbiz Cheat Sheet
Hypochondriac had its world premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in March 2022.
Cast and characters:
Zach Villa … Will
Devon Graye … Luke
Madeline Zima … Blossom
Yumarie Morales … Sasha
Marlene Forte … Mom
Chris Doubek … Dad
Paget Brewster … Doctor Sampson
Adam Busch … Doctor Rosenstein
Michael Cassidy … NP Chaz
Peter Mensah … Doctor Jansen
Debra Wilson … Doctor Miller
Ian Inigo … Young Will
Scott Butler … The Wolf
Milos Jovanovic … Jibran
Joaquin Acuna … Tye
Machete Bang Bang … Child Wolf
Sarah Lin Mitchell … Physical Therapist
Laurence Todd Rosenthal … Cop #1
Joe Colucci … Cop #2
1 hour 36 minutes
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