A Cure for Wellness REVIEW
Release: Out Now
From: New Regency Productions
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
When the main trailer for A Cure for Wellness was released shortly before the film came out it wasn’t entirely clear what the story was going to be about – a psychological horror like Shutter Island perhaps? If only, as the film turns out to be nothing more than a slow-burning disjointed farce by the end of its 146-minute runtime.
Dane DeHaan plays Lockhart, an ambitious stock broker who travels to a Swiss spa to retrieve his company’s missing CEO who’s “taken the waters” and informed them he won’t ever be returning. His previous life was not worth living – capitalism and the rat race culture has ruined our health he says – but he’s needed to sign off on an important merger so it’s up to Lockhart to change his mind. Once there, he encounters brainwashed patients, unhelpful staff and Jason Isaac’s eerie character Dr Volmer. Of course, it doesn’t take long before he is admitted to the institution himself when his leg is broken in a mysterious car accident and he starts to piece together the truth with the help of an incestuous folktale, disturbing water treatments and a hell of a lot of eels.
There was probably once a good story in A Cure for Wellness’s twisted narrative, one that tried to distinguish itself from the plethora of familiar horror tropes that we see nowadays. Gore Verbinski certainly tries his best to make a good film, and with the great cast and arresting visuals you’d have thought he could managed it, right?
Well, as it turns out, nothing could really improve a storyline as thin and disturbing as this. Too much time is spent on Lockhart’s quest for the truth as he skulks around pristine sanatorium hallways, dodging brutish staff members in the hope of finding his CEO and what the cure really entails, something that seems obvious the moment the town’s mysterious folktale is mentioned. After an excruciatingly slow build-up the film then changes pace in favour of a pseudo Phantom Of The Opera-like finale that’s not only disgusting but misguided, it makes you wonder why the actors even accepted the roles they were offered.
There’s only one way to describe the film: a mess. One thing that the film will probably do is make you question drinking a glass of water for a few days, but, to be honest, it would be better if you didn’t even watch a movie as ridiculous as this. The cast may have been good in their given roles (I mean when has Jason Isaacs ever been bad in a role, especially a villainous one?) but that doesn’t change the fact that this film is a colossal waste of time.
Review by Roxy Simons