The psychological thriller drama film “Hypochondriac” deals with severe mental disorder, childhood trauma, and the sudden effects that it has on an individual even after eighteen years. It follows Will, a potter by profession, who gradually starts to be haunted by physical manifestations of his childhood trauma while struggling hard to understand why he is losing function of his arms. Despite having a fascinating premise, it is hard to call “Hypochondriac” a great watch, mostly because of how and where it ends up unraveling, and it is ultimately only a mediocre experience with little effect.
‘Hypochondriac’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Will, a young boy in his adolescent years, lives mostly alone with his bipolar and physically hurtful mother, who wakes him up one night and drives him away from their house. Moving into a motel room, she expresses her anguish and fear over a possible conspiracy that her husband has plotted against her, and now even believes that her son is working for his father. She embraces Will, who she lovingly calls Lindo, and then tries to shockingly strangle him to death. The boy somehow manages to survive, and the two return to their home again. Some time later, when Will returns from school, he sees his cold and distant father alone at home, who tells him to ignore the mess in the kitchen. Will goes to their kitchen and sees a horrible mess there, with food and utensils all strewn across the room, and his mother nowhere there.
Eighteen years later, Will has grown up into a man of thirty who enjoys his profession as a potter in a shop where he often helps his colleague and close friend Sasha with her panic attacks. He now lives with his young and loving boyfriend, Luke, who cares about Will a lot and now feels ready to introduce him to his family. One day, he receives a big box full of empty DVD boxes and a voice recorder with a note from his mother, who is now understood to be still alive. The mother tells him that she has sent the junk over because she does not want to keep them in her house any longer and also warns him not to trust her boyfriend. Soon after, while at work, the man seems to lose control of his arms and legs and falls down while carrying a box of supplies into the shop. When Luke asks him about his health that evening, Will tries to brush it off casually, but then things seem very strange to him suddenly when his boyfriend uses a couple of phrases that his mother would often use. Luke tries some more to find out what is up with his partner, but Will perceives this as him trying to interfere in his life. The next day at work, the man starts to hallucinate a wolf, or rather a man in a wolf costume, to be precise, and faints while working. On the insistence of Sasha, who witnesses him fainting, and also himself realizing that things are getting out of hand, Will gets himself checked at a hospital, where the attending nurse tells him that it is most definitely stress that is causing his ailment, and takes a sample of his blood for tests. While he awaits the results, Will decides to go for a weekend getaway at a cabin that Sasha’s family owns, along with his boyfriend, and take some time off from their usual lives and also to discuss his childhood fears and traumas with Luke.
How Do Will’s Childhood Memories Gradually Return To Haunt Him?
As their first evening at the cabin is spent romantically, Will continues to keep his past away from Luke, having only told him about the fact that his mother had tried to kill him once. The next morning, he gets hold of hallucinogenic mushrooms and tries them together with his boyfriend. At one point, in a trance-like state, Will goes out into the woods when he receives a call from the nurse at the hospital, who says that he has a severe vitamin D deficiency and that he would be recommended medications for it, but Will’s plight only begins from here as his mother’s words come back to him and he then feels like he is being chased by a growling wolf. He returns to the cabin to be consoled and calmed down by Luke, but experiences the presence of a wolf once again that evening. While taking a bath at a pool outside the house, he sees the same man in a wolf costume calling out to him and then crawling towards him. Extremely scared by this, Will attempts to run and hurts himself by getting his hand wounded terribly. By the next morning, Luke is helplessly convinced that his boyfriend would do just about anything to avoid talking about his past, even though he is there to provide all the love and support, and the two have an argument over it. After returning home, he goes for a medical checkup again, and a different doctor tries to convince him that the only problem with him is his high levels of stress. Will tries to ask for a week-long leave from work, but his manipulative boss clearly denies him any time off. While working alone, he hallucinates hearing someone crying for help from inside the burning-hot kiln, and he rushes to help and then even sees a monster sitting inside. The man obviously burns his hands terribly and also has an altercation with his boss, which gets him fired from the shop. Back home, when Luke once again tries to get close to him mentally, Will confronts him about being in touch with his mother, which Luke admits is true as he had recently received an email from her. Will says that it is best that his past remains away from Luke, possibly feeling that Luke would fear him as he himself now suspects getting his mother’s mental illnesses, and Will ends their relationship.
Will moves in at his father’s house with the man but finds no support at all from him. His pains, both physical and mental, grow tremendously, to the point that he is about to cut his arms with a knife, but somehow stops himself. When he has a panic attack and asks his father for help, the elderly man simply relaxes in front of his television and makes insensitive remarks about women who have called out sexual predators. This certainly gets Will riled up as he argues with his father, and the father then claims that the most effective way to get people out of mental issues is simply to infuriate them. The father is clearly one to dismiss mental health issues as something people mostly pretend to be in for the attention of it. He does not believe his son’s struggles either, and calmly states that he would have to put Will up in a mental hospital just like his mother if his struggles get any more overbearing. Will visits his therapist, who prescribes him antipsychotics, upon hearing that he has been thinking of killing himself. He now returns to his childhood house, where his memories with his mother that still haunt him to this day took place, and he goes through his mother’s things in her room. Among many other things, Will finds a DVD with the word “evidence” written over it, which the woman had evidently left behind for him to see. That night, when the man sits down to watch it, he finds it to be footage from a security camera that his father had installed in their kitchen. He sees in this video compilation his mother’s hysterical beliefs about how her husband was trying to hurt her, how he was part of the CIA, how young Will himself appeared to try and make his mother take her medicine, and then finally, events from the day when she was taken away to the mental institution as two police officers forcefully take the now violent woman into custody. As Will finishes watching this, he sees the man in the wolf costume again, this time sitting right beside him and trying to communicate with him. Will seems to follow the figure out of the house where he is killed by the wolf-man, but this turns out only to be his hallucination. This wolf-man figure is actually the very physical manifestation of his childhood fears and trauma, as his mother used to dress him up in a wolf costume every Halloween. Whatever negative or confusing memories that Will has of his mother, who physically hurt him multiple times due to her illness, now appear in front of him in the shape of the wolf-man as he himself starts to have severe mental health issues.
Will goes through an MRI test at the hospital, and another doctor clearly tells him that nothing is physically wrong with him. Till now, all the medical practitioners have told him that all his mental and physical worries, including the fact that he cannot seem to move or use his hands, are all stress-related, and the last one then suggests that Will consult a psychiatrist. But these words are as pointless and insignificant to Will’s very real problems, inside his mind, as a picture of a winking dog telling patients not to worry that seems to be hung in all the rooms all over the hospital. The last doctor also tells him that he should stop trying to use his hands for some time and rely on someone else, and Will seems to tearfully go back to Luke. The ex-boyfriend lovingly helps him shave and eat his food and then calms him down when Will has a breakdown. The two then get intimate, but Will’s psychosis returns in the most horrible form when he sees Luke turn into the wolf-man. He has a panic attack once more, and Luke tries to calm him by singing a song, which immediately brings sinister suspicions to Will’s mind as the song happens to be one his mother used to sing to him. Just like his mother had once suspected Will of working with his father, Will now suspects Luke of being in collusion with his mother, and he physically assaults his ex-boyfriend. Luke curses that Will would remain alone for the rest of his life and then mysteriously disappears, but visuals that follow suggest that Luke was actually never present in the scene. Will is alone, seen shaving his beard and eating his food, and the ex-boyfriend has only been a part of his heated and muddled imagination. He now curses himself and grabs hold of a kitchen knife, slashing his bandaged hands. He faints and then wakes up to see his mother in the room with him, and the woman now tries to console him and help him calm down. But, in a sort of contrast to the event from his childhood, Will now strangles his mother with his bare hands and seems to choke her to death in a frenzied state. The wolf-man once again appears beside him, encouraging him to slit his wrist and kill himself, but Will stabs the knife into the creature’s heart and then runs away from the house. He is now seen crawling at the doorway of Luke’s house, who looks on confusedly as Will keeps apologizing.
‘Hypochondriac’ Ending Explained: Does Will Manage To Survive?
Will is next seen sitting alone in the corner of a gray-walled room, wearing white overalls and having an imaginary conversation with the wolf-man who sits in the opposite corner of the room. It is clear that Luke had either consulted with his father or had himself turned Will into a mental institution, unable to think of any other way to help the man. The doctor looking into Will’s case comes in for a visit and seems to understand the fact that her patient is now hallucinating a wolf-man at all times, making his disturbed and ailing psyche very evident. When asked about the matter by Will, the doctor reveals that the entire episode of the man strangling his mother to death was also part of his hallucination, and that the mother was very much alive and had visited him a few hours back. The doctor now provides Will with supportive and comforting words, which the man seems to finally acknowledge, and he agrees to go through the hard work that he would need to get better. He is seen practicing various exercises and activities that are all part of his treatment and seems to be getting much better, but the ending scene squashes such an understanding. Will sits alone on a bench on a hill that seems to be part of the mental institution’s compound, and Luke comes and sits beside him. While it looks like Luke has come to visit his ex-lover, the wolf-man also appears and sits beside Will on the other side. Will holds the wolf-man’s hand while resting his head on Luke’s shoulders, and “Hypochondriac” rolls its ending credits.
By now, in the film’s narrative, it has been very well established that Will’s accounts of the truth and what is happening around him simply cannot be taken to be the actual truth. The film ultimately becomes the story of how the young man succumbs to the mental struggles that his mother suffered from, and a similar fate seems to occur to him as well. Even if Luke’s appearance in the last scene is to be taken as truth, meaning that Luke had really come to visit Will, the fact that the wolf-man appears as well makes it seem that Will is now totally convinced of the existence of this imaginary figure. Will’s ability to see the wolf-man at all times suggests that he has whole-heartedly jumped into believing his hallucinations now, which suggests the extreme mental illness he has developed. Even if Luke agrees to keep in touch with Will and visits him in the hospital, the fact that Will holds on to the figure that resembles all his past trauma does not bode well for his mental and, therefore, physical health at all. An even more unfortunate fate is possible from the way “Hypochondriac” ends, though, as it can be imagined that Will imagines both the wolf-man and Luke, as the lonely man finds the most comfort in these two figures. Throughout the film, Will has been desperately looking for people who would believe him, who would understand what he was going through, and by the end, he finds only Luke and the wolf-man to be the only two support systems in life. Even though he might be completely alone in actuality, it is certain that these two characters will now forever live on with him in his troubled mind.
“Hypochondriac” is a 2022 psychological thriller film directed by Addison Heimann.