Vilma Santos and Kim Chiu work well in their first movie collaboration.
Playing on the Filipino belief that faith healers are the last resort for those with seemingly incurable diseases or ailments, The Healing
touches on issues of poverty, desperation and the power of faith in this horror-suspense story. The story centers around the life of Seth (played by Vilma Santos), a woman who had her ailing father instantly cured by a faith healer in the province. Her close friends finds out about the success story and convinces her to bring all of them back to the province to have them ‘healed’ as well. One by one, they all recovered from their different illnesses. Unfortunately, dark things start happening to all those who were cured in the session and it is ultimately up to Seth to stop those who got cursed, including Cookie (played by Kim Chiu) the daughter of her ex-husband with another woman.
The movie which marks Vilma’s 50th anniversary in showbiz, was a challenge for the Star for all seasons. She admits it took her some time to adjust to acting in a horror film and credits Chito Roño for guiding her in doing her character. Another revelation in this story was the effective acting from young actors Martin Del Rosario who plays Vilma’s son and half-brother to Kim Chiu, who is afflicted with a kidney disease that is slowly wasting his life away. As the curse starts claiming its victims in violent deaths and suicides, Vilma and Martin try to find a way to save Kim from ending up in a similar state. Kim Chiu departs from her usual sweet girl image here by playing a sensitive girl who is torn between wanting to live a normal life and giving in to the beliefs of her stepmother. But due credit also goes to credible acting of the cast for their marked performances, from Daria Ramirez and Joel Torre (who play the faith healer and her brother) to the ill-fated neighbors of Ate Vi played by Pokwang, Janice de Belen, Cris Villanueva and Ynez Veneracion. More than the ensemble cast, it is ultimately the storyline of The Healing which makes this movie worth watching. Even non-horror fans will be entertained and satisfied with the plot that was three years in the making according to direk Chito Roño and writer Roy Iglesias.
Rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, The Healing
is also the first Philippine movie to be screened with two separate versions, R-13 and R-18. This guarantees that those who want to watch the film without missing the more sensitive scenes can catch it in its R-18 Director’s cut version. The Healing
will also have international premieres in Guam, USA and Canada. The Healing
is now showing in theaters nationwide.