Film Review – A Cure For Wellness (2017)

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It is admirable that Gore Verbinski has a passion for the horror genre. Considering he dabbles mostly in the mainstream with his three ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films adding onto the disappointing version of ‘The Lone Ranger.’ One would believe that horror is where his strength lies, considering his American version of ‘The Ring’ made people sleep with the lights on for a week. It was a perfect remake.

That being said, a return to the genre requires high expectation, and sadly ‘A Cure for Wellness’ doesn’t have the horrifying impact that ‘The Ring’ had. It has its moments of keeping viewers engrossed in the first two acts, but the final third act where the mystery unravels is where the viewer may walk away disappointed.

An ambitious young executive named Lockhart played by the coldly handsome yet intriguing Dane DeHaan is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness centre” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem. The audience are interested to see the side effects of water. To drink it, to swim in it, to bathe in it all has the horrific perks that will soon structure to its point. To witness eels swirl and culminate in their predatory attack could make piranha’s look like pussies, but yet something is missing.

Our antagonist Jason Isaacs revels in playing the hammy villain with a German accent. Playing Lucius Malfoy in the ‘Harry Potter’ series is a perfect stepping stone to dive in a deeper kind of villain or more rather a stock character of the typical hammer horror genre. His Doctor Volmer is creepy, sinister and two faced…literally. To see him instigate a dentist torture scene on Dane DeHann is everything ‘The Marathon Man’ should have been. To show the violence is actually a treat as the whole point of horror is to be horrified. Sadly the overall film didn’t maintain the horrific impact and grabs you only in small dribs and drabs.

Mia Goth, the young leading lady and face of the film’s eye catching poster possibly steals the film. She plays peculiar like a pro, as she has stepped up her wonderful weirdness from her obscure performance in ‘Nymphomaniac Volume II.’ Her portrayal of Hannah stuns the audience with her mental paranoia as she truly acts the part of a mental patient perfectly. She is the pivotal character that revolves around the mystery and Goth does her best to perform the mental damsel in distress to a high standard.

On the whole DeHaan’s spiral into insanity establishes him as up and coming serious Hollywood property. There is still room for improvement. To see a film set in a wellness centre or more rather sanatorium is a great premise. But dejectedly Verbinski has given himself a C+ for the whole concept but an A for effort. His visuals are dark like David Fincher’s vision, but falls short of making his film of what could’ve been ‘The Shining’ meets ‘Shutter Island.’ The overly long 146 minute running time doesn’t help either. It is with regret to state that ‘A Cure for Wellness’ doesn’t deserve this long running time like Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ did.

[rating=2] | Aly Lalji

Horror, Fantasy | USA, 2017 | 18 | 24th February 2017 (UK) | 20th Century Fox Pictures |Dir:Gore Verbinski |Dane Dehaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie