Nocebo Movie Review: This Hits Home

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We don't know what's more surreal, seeing Filipino folk horror featured well on the big screen or hearing the "budots" twice within "Nocebo". Kidding aside, "Nocebo" was surprisingly decent with a well-armed cast and a note-worthy performance from Chai Fonacier who was the clear standout from everyone else. The narrative hits home for sure but its predictability and uneven pacing were critical elements that needed more refinement.   

Christine (Eva Green) is fashion designer specializing on kids couture. One day, she suffers a traumatic experience and from then on encounters a mysterious haunting illness. This confounds her doctors and frustrates her husband, Felix (Mark Strong) as they believe it could be all in her mind. Help arrives in the form of Diana (Chai Fonacier), a Filipino nanny who uses traditional folk healing to mend Christine's condition which seems to actually help her when no doctor or medicine could. In the process of healing Christine, the dark truth to why Christine is unwell is unveiled.   

"Nocebo" starts off well. Eva Green's character receives an emergency call and then suddenly everything goes unhinged for her. It was intriguing and mysterious. We wanted to know what the heck was happening. This film had us interested in its first ten minutes. But the film's narrative wasn't able to sustain this and that early high was the best the film could do in terms of story. The film moved back and forth between Christine and Diana with the former detailing the present while the latter detailing the past and why she became applied as a nanny in another country. Diana's back story in particular was written in such a way that it just had too many scenes while revealing too little per scene. It became too predictable eventually with us knowing the truth halfway through the film. With a predictable story and off-putting pacing, "Nocebo" was decent but not memorable. It's such a shame because the cast was great here especially Chai Fonacier. We also felt that the film also had great production values and cinematography even with its limited budget. Overall, "Nocebo" was a good representation of Filipino folk horror and culture in our opinion and enjoyable even with its core issues.  

Rating: 3 and a half reels

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