With monsters and mutants currently taking over our cinema screens, 20th Century Fox has decided to drop a dose of psychological horror into the mix with A Cure for Wellness. So is it any good?A Cure for Wellness stars Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, a young Wall Street executive who is tasked with bringing back the director of his company from a wellness centre in the Swiss Alps, after having received a letter from him stating that he won’t be returning to the business. Lockhart travels to the treatment sanitarium and finds numerous patients living out their days in peace, but the longer he stays at the centre, the more suspect he becomes of Dr Heinreich Volmer (Jason Issacs), and the methods employed at the retreat.Director Gore Verbinski returns to the horror genre for the first time since his big hit – the US remake of The Ring (2002) – but with this film, it’s truly a case of style over substance. The film artistically is beautiful to look at, the dreary retro look of the inside of the sanatorium is wonderfully grim and incredibly suitable for this macabre story. It’s too bad that the story, whilst set up well, completely muffs the landing and ends up a bit of a mess of confusion, weird character turns, and about two too many endings. Like The Lord of the Rings, this film could have ended a few times before it actually did.
Dane DeHaan does his best Leonardo DiCaprio/Shutter Island impression but manages to hold his own. Jason Issacs is actually pretty good as the chief doctor in charge of the centre, and whilst that character’s arc may ultimately disappoint audiences, he plays it to its strengths. This is a film that’s about 30 mins too long, and it’s in those last 30 mins or where the film really falls off the rails. The film starts off as a grim tale of intrigue, but the final act does an about face and completely misses the landing. It’s confusing, gross and ultimately not satisfying. For those looking for their solid horror kick, you’ll need to keep looking. Whilst the film is creepy, there are no real scares here. That being said there were many times of audible audience gasps in our theatre, especially during a scene involving a dentist, and absolutely bizarre, and gross final act. Those with dental fears will definitely want to skip this one.
For those looking for their solid horror kick, you’ll need to keep looking. Whilst the film is creepy, there are no real scares here. That being said there were many times of audible audience gasps in our theatre, especially during a scene involving a dentist, and absolutely bizarre, and gross final act. Those with dental fears will definitely want to skip this one.It’s hard to recommend A Cure for Wellness – it fails to deliver on the premises that it sets up in the creepy first act (or even the promising trailers!), and replaces what could have been a really solid movie with gross violence, confusing character motives and sequences that would be better suited to The Mummy (if you see it – you’ll see what I mean). I applaud the artistic direction of the flick, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find too many other redeeming features or an audience that would be satisfied with the film from start to end.
A CURE FOR WELLNESS hits Australian cinemas this Thursday, March 16.