A Cure For Wellness: Film Review
Cast: Dane deHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
Director: Gore Verbinski
Tipping its hat to horror and Gothic pretensions, Gore Verbinski's suspense-filled A Cure For Wellness soaks in mystery for 2 of its 2 and a half hours run time.
A pallid and drawn Dane De Haan stars as Lockhart, an ambitious investment banker, who's extorted to bring back the head of a financial company from a mysterious spa in the Swiss Alps.
With the clock ticking to return the man in question ahead of a company merger, Lockhart finds his efforts frustrated by the staff and owner of the spa who believe it's better for all if they stay and get some treatment.
But as Lockhart starts to look around, he digs deeper into the disturbing secrets of the spa - however, will he be too late?
There's a mania infecting every frame of A Cure For Wellness.
With Bojan Bazelli's precise and exquisite cinematography, A Cure For Wellness is infected with a starchly stiff look that manifests in every scene.
Moments are perfectly framed and add much to the overall sheen of A Cure For Wellness' frankly lunatic edges, giving the film a detached feeling that hangs heavy in the air as it plays out.
While DeHaan's growing incredulousness seems to be at odds with what you'd expect from the character, this Gothic-tinged film, with its transfixing blend of weirdness and and surreal nightmare edges is a Lovecraftian parable and dreamscape made real.
Complete with some great use of sound, the suspenseful atmosphere is ramped up to 11 and the creaks and clanks of the walls and Lockhart's crutches add a sense of a very real rhythm that comes, lulling you into an odd dreamlike mentality that helps you view the film.
As the body horror ramps up to its natural and expected crescendo, the actual denouement of the film is as utterly daffy as you'd expect. In fact, the sheer insanity of the end actually threatens to derail the film at this point, potentially derailing the meticulous work done by Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and his team.
Large parts of the film feel like they've been ripped from plenty of other source materials (from a catalogue of horrors to elements of Scorsese's Shutter Island), and even the slow pans down the corridors recall The Kingdom, Lars von Trier's foray into TV.
And yet, despite the ending sequence, A Cure For Wellness remains a largely taut and well-executed trip into the fevered mind. It's a trip, to be sure, but the paranoia, suspense and madness within make it a journey well worth experiencing.