By CJ Bamert
Gore Verbinski has had a really interesting career. He’s made some great films such as “The Ring” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” one of the best modern blockbusters. But he also made the following two “Pirates of the Caribbean,” along with 2013’s flop “The Long Ranger.”
He’s had a spotty track record to say the least, but after a slew of blockbusters, he has returned to the horror genre with “A Cure for Wellness,” a medical horror film that will make your skin crawl, that is if you don’t fall asleep first.
“A Cure for Wellness” begins when the CEO of a Wall Street Brokerage company tells his company he is never leaving the wellness center he is staying at in Switzerland. He has recently had an enlightening experience and doesn’t wish to return to his old life.
With a merger currently moving forward and the board needing their CEO to finalize things, Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) a young executive at the company, is sent to retrieve him and get the company back on track. When Lockhart gets to the wellness center, he begins learning terrible secrets about the place that is making it very hard for him to leave.
The films strongest qualities are in its directing and its production design. Verbinski really brings the audience into a creepy location with the wellness center. Everything looks incredibly old and like it’s straight out of a 50s psychiatric hospital. Its colors are really muted, which adds a lot to a film with an already bleak tone.
Mr. DeHaan, the lead of the film, has had a very interesting career as of late. He has done great independent work and has even gotten jobs in giant blockbusters like the previous “Spider-Man” franchise. This however, will not go down as one of his best roles. There is not anything particularly bad about him, but there is just something unengaging about him, and that is the biggest issue with the entire film.
“A Cure for Wellness” has one big problem; there is a lot of crazy and weird things happening. Depending on who you are, the film doesn’t capture your attention like it wants to. Part of the reason this happens is because the film is nearly two and a half hours long. That is a very bold running time. If you’re planning on making a movie this long, this film either has to be something that will win six Oscars, or contain a minimum of three superhero battles. This film has none of that going for it, and that is a problem.
The film is also very small scale. There isn’t too much going on, but it has a lot of production value and it looks very expensive. One would question why this film got such a high budget when it was destined to not be a hit.
This film will also definitely test your limits if you aren’t into body horror. It doesn’t shy away from getting gruesome at points.
Through all of this, the film has one other redeeming quality. During the third act climax, the film goes completely off the rails . It takes a big leap from the grounded but heightened world that has set the tone throughout the film. That’s all that should be mentioned to avoid spoilers. But if you love when movies lose their minds, then this is for you.
“A Cure for Wellness” has a lot to offer and if you’re looking for an off brand “Shutter Island,” this is the film for you. But there just isn’t really much to care about, and for that, this movie gets a 5/10.