DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO who is currently on a holiday in the Swiss Alps at a mysterious 'Wellness Center". When he arrives to retrieve his CEO he is told that visiting hours are over and must come back tomorrow. As he leaves, the car he is travelling in hits a deer and crashes which leave him with a broken leg. Now stuck, he will soon discover the spa treatments may be more sinister than he could have ever imagined.
When the first trailer debuted for Gore Verbinski's A Cure For Wellness, I had no idea that the movie had even existed up until that point. It sort of came out of nowhere to surprise me. I think after several Pirates Of The Carribean films and The Lone Ranger, I had sort of forgot about him as a filmmaker. So when the dark and visually dazzling trailer that was filled with weird imagery debuted. I was pretty excited to see that he was returning to something more horror orientated.
Once the movie debuted, and the critics started raining down their hellfire on it. I was worried, to say the least. I still wanted to see it, but my hype for the movie started to dwindle a bit. Once it came out, I don't remember seeing any sort of promotion for it here in Australia, so I completely missed it in cinemas. After watching it on a laptop, I really feel that I missed something gorgeous on the big screen. I think this would've been such an experience to see on a larger screen.
I am going to start by saying that A Cure For Wellness isn't without its problems. This is a film that runs at a very long two hours and twenty-six minutes. For a big-budget, studio-produced horror movie that isn't a comic-book movie or a franchise property, I think that is a lot to ask of an audience. This is a highly original and extremely weird property. I think already, this coming out at the time it did, and against a comedy and action blockbuster, this would have been a risk.
I think for myself, I was so amazed and in complete awe of how visually stunning, A Cure For Wellness looked that I was completely taken by the film. For me personally, I wasn't focused on the running time all that much. While it's extremely dialogue heavy and some of those scenes do drag. I found myself more focused on the great camera work and the cinematography. A few times a year, if that, I'll find a horror movie that feels like almost art to watch and not since The Neon Demon last year have I been so taken by the visuals in a horror film as I have this year with A Cure For Wellness.
The biggest problem that people will find with A Cure For Wellness is that ending. I think this is a case of the movie building to something that feels pretty preposterous in the end. I was along for the ride right up until our villain decides to hold a wedding ceremony. After this, things just sort of fall apart for me. I am happy to go along with the whole cure idea and all the horrific experiments. I even liked the eel imagery and what that represented. Just the villain face reveal and all that sort of took the movie into laughable territory.
While not being a huge fan of the ending, I think this is a story that touches on some pretty twisted taboo subject matter. As I said before, while this is marketed as pretty out there, with some extremely trippy imagery. This film does head into some pretty dark territory that I think may turn viewers off. I was actually shocked and surprised that a studio dropped a massive forty million dollars to finance a film where the main plan all leads to rape and incest. The last twenty minutes will split audiences. While I have seen much worse in cinema, this felt like a risk, and I have to applaud the studio for taking a chance on something bizarre and original.
Is A Cure For Wellness scary? No, I didn't find it scary at all. The film does, however, have a sense of dread throughout. When it comes to the gore and bloodshed, this is a movie that gives us a couple of pretty gruesome scenes. There is a scene involving a close-up of a drill that is being used to drill into a person's tooth that made me wince. A scene involving a shovel is a cheer-worthy and bloody moment. While we get some terrible CGI looking deer after a car crash, the rest of the visual effects in this movie are incredibly solid.
Lastly, we have the performances. Dane DeHaan is a pretty solid actor. He gets put through the wringer in this film. I really enjoyed watching him as a lead. I think he has a lot of screen presence. Mia Goth is the standout for me here. After A Cure For Wellness and Nymphomaniac, she is an actress that I'd call brave as both have her going to some incredibly dark places and she is fantastic in both of these two films that I've seen her in so far. Jason Isaac as the villain is chewing the scenery here in such a good way. I thought for most of the film, I was buying him as the big bad.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A man dies of a heart attack.
- Two men are in a car accident.
- A deer is hit by a car.
- A woman has a heart attack.
- A man is seen drowning.
- A man's nose starts bleeding.
- A dead body is eaten by eels.
- A man is stabbed in the face with a shovel.
- A woman is seen bleeding out of her vagina.
- A cow is gutted.
- A body is put into an incinerator.
- A stillborn baby calf falls out of a cow's stomach.
- A man pulls his tooth out.
- A man has a drill put through his tooth.
- A man cuts his hand on broken glass.
Going into A Cure For Wellness, I was incredibly worried. I had heard a lot of negative feedback on the film and was scared that I might end up hating this film. After sitting through this utterly bizarre, two and a half hour, visual feast for the senses. I actually thoroughly enjoyed myself. Well acted, stunning to watch, the cinematography is just great, and we get a few nasty moments. While not always coherent when it comes to the story and a pretty silly final twenty minutes, I think this one is worth the watch.