How Deep is the Well for “Wellness”?
DIRECTED BY GORE VERBINSKI/2017
A Cure For Wellness is a movie that had mediocre written all over it from its inception. The kind of movie that was made because those late winter horror movies that smugly refer to themselves are “psychological thrillers” aren’t going to just release themselves. And it’s the kind of film that exists because Gore Verbinski needs to feed his family.
Dane DeHaan plays Lockhart, a character so authoritative he apparently only has one name, and he’s the hotshot in a New York Financial service. After the company prepares to form a very important merger, he is dispatched to retrieve the company’s owner (Harry Groener), as he is needed to finalize the merger. The owner has been spending his time at some sanitarium in the Swiss Alps, which is surrounded by as much terror as it is beauty, and the mystery of why he has not returned is slowly answered as we see through Lockhardt’s eyes, that he may not have had much of a choice.
There are some gross-out and shock moments that probably sounded good on paper, but while pitted against the larger-budget and sick view of the film, just came off as boring.
While there, Lockhardt meets Hanna (Mia Goth) a creepy girl who may be an innocent sweetheart on his side or possibly the devil in little girl form. And rounding out the cast is the always delightful Jason Isaacs playing the charismatic, yet evil (not much of a secret in his case) director of the resort.
A Cure For Wellness hits a few interesting points that unfortunately other movies have hit better. You get a slight feel of being an unwilling prisoner at a loony bin, though honestly, after One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, that’s pretty overly-charter territory that you have some gall to think you can do better.
There are some gross-out and shock moments that probably sounded good on paper, but while pitted against the larger-budget and sick view of the film, just came off as boring. And there are moments that the director would probably refer to as “body horror” in a Cronenbergian way, but hopefully doesn’t actually say that to anyone who is a fan of Cronenberg.
And most unforgivable, A Cure for Wellness isn’t just the standard 20 minutes too long, but rather a whopping hour overlong. This should be a nice counter to any auteur filmmaker complaining of “studio interference”, as what can go wrong when there is no interference.
A Cure for Wellness ultimately isn’t terrible. It isn’t as unwatchable as Rings supposedly is (haven’t seen it). However, it’s almost worse: It just exists.