A good movie is a good movie, no matter the language in which it is filmed. So, the exact moment I read about multiple mysterious deaths and suicides throughout the years happening at Xinglin Hospital, which now lies closed, abandoned and possibly haunted, I was all in to watch the Taiwan film, Hospital.
As mentioned by one of the characters, Xinglin is voted the most supernatural location of the country by online voters. Naturally, our main characters of Underworld Tour Group are quasi ghost hunters and exorcists all wrapped into one, willing to take a walk into the spirit world for a steep price. But are these two guys actually frauds? They seem sketchy, to say the least.
Two young ladies hope to communicate with spirits who died there that are suspended in limbo. It’s a family affair for each one, but neither one was prepared for The Demon who’s lurking in the shadows…
According to the old man, the living can’t generally see spirits unless they absorb enough Yin energy. Also, blood attracts ghosts. So, flesh wounds, as well as wearing bloody smocks, bring results. It’s also natural to lie down inside mortuary cabinet shelves, hoping to gain their otherworldly attention. Concerning The Demon, one must hold their breath in order to prevent it from possessing your physical body.
Each of these characters is dealing with the ghosts of their past, which I get, but I’m mostly concerned with the storyline. Is this a murder conspiracy? Could this be a whodunit? Many of the past medical personnel receive the blame, but were they actually at fault? And at times the film feels like it’s become something of the found-footage variety, which really complicates the big picture.
Needless to say, the on-screen action (and its story) is more than a little slow at times, and then things get super weird. I don’t mind reading subtitles at all. In fact, I actively use the option whenever watching TV shows and movies at home because so often actors mumble their dialogue, and I don’t miss a thing by reading it. With that said, it took me a few attempts to watch this entire movie, as it’s only interesting to watch scary movies in the dark, and then I kept getting tired from all the reading. It didn’t help that the big reveal takes way too long to develop…
The special effects are only OK, but the creepy sound effects are pretty great. And there’s a few good jump scares inserted in there as well.
I’m not going to compare Hospital to Parasite, because that’s entirely unfair to everyone involved with each film. But the style is definitely different for each one. I’m not exactly sure what the Hospital filmmakers were aiming for, but surely it was to get more than a shoulder shrug by this viewer.
Beware the Noon Water, Ghost Oil and the creepy doll (Better yet, try figuring out why they’re important to the storyline and let me know!). Hospital is currently airing on Netflix.