Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Sonja Gerhardt, Milam Farooq, Tim Oliver Schultz
  • Director: Michael David Pate
  • Disc Format: Dolby, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (DTS 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: 
     Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: February 12, 2019
  • Run Time: 89 minutes

        The origins of the horror genre can be traced back to Germany, and the most successful of early American horror films often imitated them. The success of American horror relied on the imitation of German filmmaking, so it is disheartening to watch Heilstätten, a film which simply feels like a cheap German imitation of The Blair Witch Project. Derivative in every aspect of filmmaking and narrative, Heilstätten has a few sincere scares but offers absolutely nothing new to the genre. Even in terms of the sub-genre of found-footage horror, it lacks any originality beyond a clever third-act twist.

        The premise of the story which brings a group of deserving victims to the notoriously haunted asylum that has long been condemned is also the set-up for the found-footage format. They are all YouTubers looking to go viral with increasingly offensive and immature stunts, and the latest has them daring each other to stay in the surgery block of the hospital for a full 24 hours. Once the sun goes down, mysterious activity begins and progresses until the social media vultures are scared enough to try and escape. Of course, they are never scared enough to put down the cameras, giving reason for the found-footage format to continue for the course of the film.

        I could provide details about each of the individual YouTubers, but it doesn’t really matter. In one way or another, they are all pretty awful. The film is stacked with obnoxious YouTuber behavior, clearly modeled after specific types (beauty vloggers, idiots like Jake Paul, etc.). It is easy to long for the scenes when they are picked off by the supernatural villain. The first 30-minutes of the film are nearly unbearable, in that it only contains scenes of these YouTube channels. The film doesn’t really begin until the horror is introduced and these obnoxious characters are scared into shutting up. And even then, it drags at 90-minutes long. There are enough true scares in the running time for a short film, but the feature film feels padded with annoying dialogue by flat characters doomed to be victims.

        The only bonus features that the Blu-ray release have are an English-language dubbing and a trailer.

Entertainment Value: 5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4.5/10
Historical Significance:  3/10
Special Features: 1/10

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