When I saw the first trailer for A Cure for Wellness, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. All I knew was that I was intrigued. Dark corridors, mysterious imagery, and an ominous, remote facility. I had no idea what the film was about or what any of the images really meant, but the way they were presented got me excited for the film’s release. Gore Verbinski, the film’s director, directed The Ring, an amazing horror movie, and was going to direct the BioShock movie before it was cancelled. As time went on and I saw more ads about A Cure for Wellness, I began to think that it would be the BioShock movie we never got. And in a sense, it was.
There is something to say about A Cure for Wellness. It is the first film this year and in a while to really be odd and unique. We haven’t really seen a film like A Cure for Wellness in the theater recently. I think its oddball style is what is turning a lot of critics off. This film relentlessly hides its secrets from you. Don’t expect to be spoonfed information about everything. The movie requires thought and insight; it’s anything but clear and straightforward. A simple premise? Sure. But under that? A complex and mysterious plot. What critics are missing here is that they’re not seeing the movie for what it is. They cry for more ‘original stuff’ and different things that don’t fall under ‘the same monotony’ we’ve apparently seen before. They get a film that is original and doesn’t fall under that class of ‘simple,’ yet they trash it. This is a movie that I feel will turn some people off just because it’s so unique. Some will leave hating it, others will look back and enjoy it. I feel that this is a film that will have a cult following, and be reshown a decade later.
The basic plot of the film is that a business executive, Lockheart, has been sent to a ‘wellness center’ in the Swiss Alps where his company’s CEO currently is. His task is to bring him back to New York so a merger can be completed. Naturally, getting the CEO in and out isn’t that simple. Lockheart begins to explore the center and discover just what’s going on there. The BioShock games take every men and throw them into a completely different world; like Rapture or Colombia. The locations used are beautiful. The castle featured in the film actually exists, and was originally a wartime hospital. A Cure for Wellness will surely be on the Oscar nomination list for Best Cinematography, because this film is so well-shot and there are so many unique and memorable set pieces. The way it was done has to be commended for its authenticity. The acting in Cure for Wellness is also very well-done, I think it’s Dane DeHaan’s best performance since Chronicle, and Mia Goth does an amazing job as this young, mysterious girl at the facility named Hannah.
Now, the film’s not necessarily a masterpiece. It’s 2 and a half hours long, which I didn’t mind, but some might be turned off by its length or even get bored by its slow-burn horror approach. The things that are depicted in this film may even disgust some people and make them leave the theater, so if you’re a sensitive person, don’t go see this film. Also, as I addressed, this film won’t give you everything. Some mysteries will remain just that. Mysteries. Some will be frustrated because of that, others will find enjoyment in theorizing and figuring things out.
Ultimately A Cure For Wellness’ unique approach, great acting, excellent cinematography, slow-burn horror, beautiful locations, immersive atmosphere, and memorable characters make it one of my favorites this year so far, and will likely make my personal Top 10.
Graphic Content (for some)
A Cure For Wellness receives a 8/10