Updated: Apr 1, 2022
One of life’s biggest roadblocks is making a relationship work. Relationships can be hard to figure out; we all experience ups and downs, sometimes more downs than ups. And a lot of times, we may feel insecure in ourselves and allow that insecurity to cloud our reality. Robert Livings’ Weekend Healer explores what happens when those feelings of jealousy surface and take the reins of our consciousness.
Mark (played by David Ryan Kinsman) and Katie (played by Liberty Hills) are a young couple going through a plethora of relationship issues. To rekindle their romance, Mark plans a weekend getaway at a distant lodge in the middle of the woods. However, the two still butt heads over little things, further raising tensions. That night, an eccentric young man named Rob (played by Nick Pages-Oliver) arrives at the lodge and quickly becomes friendly with the couple. While Katie enjoys Rob’s company, Mark becomes increasingly belligerent towards him and suspects Rob may have hidden ulterior motives.
When I first saw the trailer to this film, I thought it was going to be a horror film in the same vein as 2019’s The Lodge. The trailer’s color grading, tone, and editing really made it appear as a horror and thriller film. However, in reality, it was more of a thriller and a bit of a comedy. This is a really clever way to properly subvert the audience’s expectations, as they go in with certain expectations and end up getting a different result. Subverting audience expectations in of itself is a very difficult task to do and can often ruin the film’s quality if not done properly. However, Weekend Healer not only succeeds in subverting our expectations, it does so spectacularly.
After viewing the film, I felt it is fairly similar to Sofia Coppola’s On The Rocks. Both films deal with a main character who thinks their partner is cheating on them with someone else. They let their feelings of jealousy cloud their perception of reality and drive a rift in their relationship. The key difference is that Weekend Healer offers a far more realistic outcome of Mark’s insecurity and jealousy compared with the slightly more optimistic On The Rocks.
One thing I enjoyed about the cinematography was the balance of close ups and aerial shots. The film is well-edited with the back and forth close up shots of the characters conversing and doesn’t awkwardly cut back and forth like some films do. Meanwhile, the distant shots give a good window into the characters and their feelings. This rings especially true for the lead Mark, whose suspicions drive the conflict. We as the audience see everything through his eyes, for example, every time Rob appears on screen, ominous ambient music would play in the background, almost indicating a threatening presence to the audience.
Additionally, the film is pretty well written. The dialogue manages to feel very natural, and makes the characters feel like real people. Oftentimes in film, dialogue serves as either exposition or well-rehearsed monologues. In the case of Weekend Healer, the characters both stutter and repeat themselves, much like people do in real life. The characters in the film are all compelling to watch. Mark is an interesting POV character in his unreliability and entitlement. Katie is very likable and sympathetic, and Rob does a great job balancing the suspicion that the audience has with a very likable, well-meaning man that would be fun to be around.
Weekend Healer is a film that not only subverts your expectations, it also keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing what’s going to happen next. The characters are interesting and mostly enjoyable to watch, and the writing only adds to their believability. Robert Livings shows great range as a film director, perfectly adding subtle horror elements in a comedy thriller. With great cinematography and performances, this movie is worth a viewing!
Co-Written by: Owen Gonzalez