REVIEW: A Cure for Wellness (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster - 20th Century Fox

Theatrical Release Poster – 20th Century Fox

The following is a review of A Cure for Wellness – Directed by Gore Verbinski

A Cure for Wellness follows Lockhart (played by Dane DeHaan), an overworked and ambitious executive, who is sent to the Swiss Alps to retrieve Pembroke (played by Harry Groener), his company’s CEO, from a wellness center. It was supposed to be a quick retrieval. He didn’t intend to stay there for more than a few hours, but when Lockhart wakes up from a car crash he appears to have broken his leg.

His stay at the wellness center is therefore extended, but he soon starts having eerie visions that make him look into what exactly is being done there. Although Pembroke agrees to leave with Lockhart, he suddenly, and out of nowhere, has a change of heart. Lockhart soon starts suspecting that the facility’s director (played by Jason Isaacs) has put something in the water, which is central to the wellness center’s methods.

I was pretty excited for A Cure for Wellness. Mainly because of the trailers, most of which I really enjoyed, but also because it looked like another movie that I loved: Shutter Island. Indeed, this film feels very much like the aforementioned Scorsese film, but A Cure for Wellness is much more odd.

And it definitely felt like co-writer/director Gore Verbinski had packed the film with visual elements and references that referred to other films in the horror genre that had influenced his tastes. It’s not just Shutter Island, there’s a little bit of Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining thrown in there. And that’s all great.

There are a lot of things that really work for this film. Benjamin Wallfisch’s central supremely eerie musical theme, an unsettling lullaby, is extremely effective. However, the best thing about the film is how it looks. A Cure for Wellness is well-shot and well-edited. The production design and sound design add to the clammy feel of the film. It’s really well done and effective.

I think Dane DeHaan is really good in the film, and Jason Isaacs is absolutely terrific. I also think Mia Goth, who plays a girl at the facility, did what she could with her character. But that’s also where my positives for A Cure for Wellness end. Because while I do think the film does some things really exceptionally well, A Cure for Wellness is just okay.

Where the film really fell apart for me was the final reveal, which I found to be somewhat predictable. The final half of the film may be crazy and somewhat interesting, but the ending of the film left me underwhelmed and unsatisfied. I do think the film juggles with some interesting ideas, but A Cure for Wellness is just an okay, overlong (at times, over-the-top), and, sadly, underwhelming psychological thriller.

6.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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