• Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: February 12th, 2019.
    Directed by: Michael David Pate
    Cast: Nilam Farooq, Farina Flebbe, Sonja Gerhardt, Emilio Sakryaya, Tim Oliver Schultz, Davis Schulz
    Year: 2018
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    Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten – Movie Reviews:

    If found footage horror movie clichés are your bag, then you’re doing to dig Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten, a 2018 film directed by Michael David Pate. The premise is simple enough: the two YouTuber’s behind PrankstersTV, Charly (Emilio Sakraya) and Finn (Davis Schulz), talk their friend Theo (Tim Oliver Schultz), into getting them into the Heilstätten, a sprawling complex of abandoned buildings with a dark and sinister history. Why? Because their viewers will love it! Along for the ride is competing video star Betty (Nilam Farooq) and Theo’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa (Farina Flebbe), also a YouTuber, and her friend Emma (Lisa-MArie Koroll).

    Theo gets them in and they start exploring the place, there’s some sort of competition going on between the Pranksters guys and Betty, but it doesn’t matter because they’re all annoying and you basically want them to get killed off by angry ghosts. Soon enough, that wish starts to come true and one by one, people start getting offed as some of the most predictable jump scares you ever did see play out on the screen, hitting your subwoofer with the perfect amount of ‘oomph’ to make you squirm just a bit, even though it’s never scary because you completely see it all coming. Then, there’s a twist towards the end that makes things more interesting, which is completely ruined by a shock ending best summed up as stupid and unnecessary.

    The most interesting thing about the film is that it appears to have been shot pretty much entirely on location at the Beelitz Heilstätten, which was, as the film notes, started out as a proper hospital but then, during the first and second World Wars, was used to treat German soldiers wounded by combat, including a young Adolf Hitler. This area has also been used as locations for films like The Pianist, Valkyrie, Men & Chicken and A Cure For Wellness and also served as the backdrop for the video for Rammstein’s ‘Mein Herz brennt.’ It is an amazing area, a serious of massive and sprawling structures, many of which are legitimately abandoned and decaying, making it the perfect backdrop for a horror picture like this. It’s a shame then that the picture doesn’t do a better job of exploiting all of what the hospital has to offer. Sure, in the first few minutes of the group’s arrival we get a very quick tour but then after that we’re mostly running around in the dark, at which point the film really could be set anywhere. Much of the genuinely eerie atmosphere that a location like this affords a film is wasted.

    There is some decent effects work and some admittedly very good sound design here, but the characters are insufferable assholes or completely unmemorable. The cast does a fine job playing the parts I guess, assuming that’s what Pate and company were going for, but the point is there aren’t any likeable people in this film – those that aren’t horrible people are just bland and uninteresting. There were some good ideas here and some definite potential to make something more than just a Blair Witch Project knockoff set in a German urbex paradise, but Pate didn’t shoot that high and instead offered up one of the most generic horror films you’re likely to see this year.

    Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten – Blu-ray Review:

    This film was shot using a variety of handheld, consumer grade cameras and it shows. That said, as far as found footage movies go, this one looks fine. It’s made to look like a live streaming broadcast and as such there’s a lot of ‘shaky cam’ and what not employed. Additionally, the bulk of the film takes place inside a building that is, aside from handheld lighting, pretty much pitch black, at least at night. The earlier day time scenes are, understandably, better lit. Don’t go into this one expecting beautiful compositions and gorgeous cinematography presented in sterling high definition quality because you’re not going to get it but for what it is, it looks just fine.

    The German language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track (and the accompanying but less immersive Dolby Digital 5.1 track) is on par with the video in that it’s meant to sound like found footage or a YouTube broadcast. As such, there are drop outs, moments where the levels peak, some distortion and some muffled dialogue. It’s all part of the show, so you can’t really fault the mix for this, and for the most part, it works. There’s strong bass during the jump scares, the dialogue is easy to follow when it needs to be and there’s some genuinely impressive channel separation in a few spots. A dubbed English option is also provided in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Optional English subtitles are clean, clear and easy to read.

    Extras are limited to a trailer and trailers for a few other Well Go USA properties. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten – The Final Word:

    Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten has some effective moments, an amazing location and some interesting ideas at play, but squanders all of this by delivering predictable jump scares, irritating characters and a shock ending that is far sillier than it is frightening. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray looks and sounds good but is light on extras. Hardcore fans of found footage horror pictures, if they exist, will probably appreciate this but it’s hard to otherwise recommend this even if that location is amazing.

    Click on the images below for full sized Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten Blu-ray screen caps!