Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs & Mia Goth
Written by Louie Fecou
I’m staring at the screen, wondering what is going on, much like I did at the cinema last night when I watched this movie.
Director Gore Verbinski starts the film in a traditional well known way. Cocky Wall Street business hot shot,Dane DeHaan, gets blackmailed into travelling to a Switzerland health spa, to rescue missing CEO before the company goes into meltdown. It has everything horror fans recognize and is stylishly paced, setting us up for what we expect to be a “Shutter Island” style experience. DeHaan seems to be doing an impression of a young Jack Nicholson,doing an impression of a young Leo DiCaprio.
As the action moves to Europe, we have creepy health getaway, even creepier guests and creepiest manager of a health club ever. It’s well filmed and the atmosphere builds slowly and we seem to be on familiar ground. Of course that is not enough for Gore.
As we move to the second reel, he ramps up the uncomfortable atmosphere before dragging us into the final act that Gore now seems to have decided is a homage of classic Universal Horrors, with a dash of 60’s Hammer just for good luck. It’s a switch of style that you never see coming, and I suppose that’s a great trick?
There are elements of Kubrick’s Shining here, and more than a nod to Dario Argento, and I swear I saw a Htchcock influence too. Towards the end I felt The Wicker Man was going to pop up too. The plot becomes quite overblown, and on first viewing I think I must have missed a lot of the finer parts, if i’m wrong there, it means there’s a lot of holes that need filled, but oddly it still kind of holds up at the end.
At two and a half hours long, the story of water infected mystic eels, and the continuation of a pure blood line for the Spa’s creepy owner, becomes slightly tiresome. But only slightly, as there are enough set pieces to keep horror fans happy.
The eels in the tank, the dentist session and the OTT finale are all well put together, but there is a horrific incestuous sexual attack that made for nothing but uncomfortable shuffling in the seats for those at my screening.
A Cure for Wellness will probably find an audience, many of whom will enjoy the show. I must admit that it has certainly been the most unique film of the year so far. It’s probably too long and silly at the end, but it manages to engage, and it’s filmed beautifully. It’s really one for the horror fans, and the trailer actually presents itself as a more psychological thriller than all out Tales from the Crypt episode, which is what it ultimately turns out to be, and to be fair that’s no bad thing
Rating: 7.5 out of 10