Truth be told, I have a fondness for horror movies that actually seem quite familiar. I’m not one who is entirely against cliches; crass as it may sound, they are cliches for a reason. And that reason is there is something about them that keeps people coming back to them. So, naturally, a tale about a man coming to a looming, dark castle in the mountains to retrieve a colleague, I was intrigued. How many films have you seen with the same premise? There’s something just so enticing – so simple and yet so digestible – about creepy, possibly haunted buildings. In A Cure For Wellness, the building’s not haunted. Instead, it’s just weird.
Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs) is the head of a sanitarium high up in the mountains of Switzerland. There’s something magical about the water there; it’s seemingly a miracle cure. Many seek solace in the mountain compound, including a wealthy CEO of a Wall Street firm, Roland Pembroke. Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), a young business-oriented man, is tasked with traveling to the mountains of Switzerland in order to bring back Pembroke.
Once there, Lockhart finds it hard to leave. Volmer has convinced him that he must stay and rehabilitate after a car crash during his visit, but questions about the nature of this place soon arise. As if there was any other way for this film to go.
Which, as I said before, is not a problem. It’s a formula that is tried and true. Man goes to remote location, man realizes something may be up, man starts to think he may be going crazy, audience begins to wonder. Just as we put together the pieces, A Cure For Wellness does a very good job at keeping us confused. Is Lockhart imagining things? Is Dr. Volmer truly sinister, or are we just being thrown through a loop?
Gore Verbinski and Justin Haythe’s script seems a little overambitious in this regard. Wellness is a film that thrives in a confused and brooding atmosphere, but it would seem that the pair is too intent on pushing the confusion further and further until it starts to feel like a little much. It’s a long film, but only by about twenty minutes. The story works perfectly fine until the final act, where it seems like the story’s conclusion comes right out from a different story.
The problem is not what the ending entails, but how it comes about. The movie seems to end – but then it doesn’t. The feeling that I gathered from A Cure For Wellness was that two endings were written, and instead of using the better one, they were both used. Either one of these completely separate endings would have been acceptable in my book. However, combining the two seems like the film is just pushing it’s luck.
All key players in the film do a very fine job, especially Mia Goth as Hannah, a mysterious and quiet character. In reality, however, the main character is the environment itself. This serenely beautiful yet haunting location is nothing short of breathtaking. Wide, awe-inspiring shots are the film’s greatest asset.
Is it completely unique? No. Is it entertaining? Absolutely. It’s just such a shame how the ending worked out. Instead of one, we have two, and we are left thinking that one or the other should have been left on the cutting room floor, leaving A Cure For Wellness slightly shorter yet vastly more satisfying.
The Geeked Gods Score: 3/5
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