A Cure for Wellness
Gore Verbinski returns to horror with sophisticated style, capturing a film that's visually stunning and well acted. Unfortunately, A Cure for Wellness fails to wrap up its many questions and is left with a weak conclusion that wastes its two and a half hour running time.
Director Gore Verbinski returns to horror for the first time since The Ring and to the big screen for the first time since his under-rated blockbuster bomb The Lone Ranger. A Cure for Wellness is visually pleasing, well-acted and bizarrely unhinged once the story starts to unravel. Unfortunately, it ends on a weak note, ruining its sweet setup and failing to give Verbinski’s otherwise impressive film the closure it desperately needs.
Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is a wealthy young businessman sent to a remote “wellness center” to retrieve the CEO of his company. He’s somewhat of a loner, having lost his dad at a young age and not really holding down a strong relationship with his mother.
He ventures off to the Swiss Alps to collect his CEO and return home quickly to close a big merger deal, but instead gets caught up in the mysterious web of the treatment center.
As he discovers more, his health starts to deteriorate, leaving Lockhart’s state of mind up for debate.
Director Gore Verbinski has been out of the horror game for quite some time, but he returns in marvelous fashion with A Cure for Wellness. With him he brings his trademark visual style, which captures some truly breath-taking shots that are drenched with eerie and bizarre.
Those comparing this one to Shutter Island aren’t exactly wrong in terms of style and premise, but don’t count this one out. Once it gets going — it really gets going. Verbinski and his co-writer Justin Haythe take this one to some really weird and bizarre places that I’m honestly shocked managed to make it to the big screen and with such a wide release.
A Cure for Wellness is a two and a half hour R-rated slow-burn horror film that’s full of horror and suspense, not to mention metaphors galore.
Unfortunately, Verbinski’s dense film asks a lot of questions, but fails to answer them in a way that feels concluded and satisfying.
The film’s plot goes in all sorts of interesting directions and has the opportunity to really take things to a whole new level of weird and crazy, but it settles on the somewhat predictable ending that I wouldn’t flat-out call safe, but I would call it kind of lame.
Lame, because it’s almost too expected and lame because Verbinski toys with so many other cool things, only to abandon them midway.
A Cure for Wellness is still a film I’d recommend to those intrigued by the trailers. It was well-promoted on part of Fox and it definitely lives up to the visual hype established in the trailers, but the story struggles rounding third and heading home.
Still, Verbinski makes some unique claims on the state of one’s own mental health and just what it means to be well. He does this until the very end, highlighting assumptions made about those mentally ill and doing so in a way that’s haunting and unsettling.
A Cure for Wellness is a mighty fine looking film that benefits from Verbinski’s masterful filmmaking and Dane DeHaan‘s spot-on performance. The scares lurk around the corners, while the film’s mystery slowly unravels. It’s a bummer that things don’t balance out in the end, but I’d gladly watch the film again, because of how well made it is and how rare it is to get something this original and aspiring on the mainstream market.
It’s better to swing for the fences and strike out then to not even swing at all. A Cure for Wellness is Verbinski swinging and not exactly missing, but not hitting a homer either. He comes ever so close at moments, but struggles sealing the deal.