Well, this is undoubtedly the weirdest thing coming out from Hollywood.
An ambitious young executive (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.
Gore Verbinski’s return to horror is a welcome one. After his gripping 2002 entry of The Ring, it is no surprise that he and his team have fetched another disquieting yet elegant horror to fruition, with A Cure For Wellness.
And what a peculiar film this is! It is classic horror merged with the ugliness of todays greedy executive world. Verbinski opens with a very grim and dank city scape of mindless occupants, before moving us to the picturesque Swiss Alps, where the colour palette suddenly changes to every cinematographers dream! The green / blue tinged visuals and perfectly symmetrical framework are to die for.
Heralded by strong performances from all (Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth), the trio of talent had me rapt in the sheer lunacy of the story. With every scene there comes a feeling of suffocation, a sense of suspicion and dread. Undeniably responsible from the crisp sound design that echoes throughout the gothic halls and hits your every nerve.
I could praise the film endlessly, yet it has its flaws. Narratively, the pacing lags at some points, which is an issue for a film with a grand running time of 146 minutes. The final act does shift its tone quite drastically to something you would expect from a Hammer film, which seems to be what has jarred a majority of audiences, considering the previous two hours spent in obscurity. Personally, I was feeling Phantom of the Opera vibes (which I love) so could happily sit back and appreciate the nightmarishly approach.
A Cure For Wellness won’t be everyone’s cuppa tea. Hell, some film critics can’t even seem to wrap their head around the inventiveness of the story and give it the love it deserves rather than the abysmal RT score. What is amazing to see is a Hollywood studio hand over such a large amount of cash to a director (for a horror!) and give him free reign to make this wacky creation, following with a larger distribution. This may in fact be the cure the horror genre needs.
As time goes by, the more I realise that there is something rather special here. The film is absolutely gorgeous, every frame is visually stylish, the imagery is striking and the backdrop is aesthetically jaw dropping. A perfect psychological horror with a touch of old fashion folklore. A Cure For Wellness mixes influences of HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe for a surreal spell, enrapturing audiences with delectable bravura and heart racing tension. With all its beauty, do not forget this is indeed a horror, there’s a certain scene you expect to have a cut away… it doesn’t… and I legit think I nearly passed out…
8.0 / 10
“Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that’s the only way one could hope for a cure”