It’s a condition which is often played for laughs in popular culture, but hypochondria is no joke. Regularly stigmatised as a ‘made-up illness’, this type of health anxiety is in fact very real. In essence, it describes the phenomenon where someone spends a significant amount of time worrying that they’re ill or will become it. At its worse, it can become almost mentally paralysing. In Hypochondriac, it sends one man on a downward spiral.
Will (Zach Villa) has a great new job as a potter, despite his annoying boss (Madeline Zima). He’s also head over heels in love with his partner Luke (Devon Graye) and thinks this might be the one. However, his past comes back to haunt him when his estranged mother (Marlene Forte) gets in contact. A trauma from his childhood bubbles to the surface. Rapidly beginning to take over his entire life and destroy everything he loves.
While there’s undeniably a looseness to Hypochondriac, the lack of polish simply adds to the febrile atmosphere of mystery. There are some Shakey moments in writer/director Addison Heimann’s film, which threatens to knock it off the rails, but it’s the deft handling of pacing which keeps it on track. Ensuring that Hypochondriac is a compelling portrait of grief and trauma, wrapped up in an almost supernatural tale.
Hypochondriac is out in US theatres on 29 July. Followed by a digital release on 4 August.