Friday, February 24, 2017

Movie Review: A Cure for Wellness

Strange circumstances surround a hydrotherapy medical center in Switzerland and when Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), an ambitious young salesman, travels up there to bring back a company CEO, he discovers these dark secrets. The film is beautifully shot under the direction of Gore Verbinski and has a great horror atmosphere, though does not deliver on the spookiness. The researcher Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs) discourages Lockhart from leaving after he breaks his leg in a car accident coming down the mountain. Lockhart continues to discover the odd history of the castle where the center is located and other issues about the patients.

He encounters the odd residents including Hannah (Mia Goth) a girl that was committed at a very young age and waits for her father to return once she is well, Victoria Watkins (Cella Imrie) an older woman who hopes to solve the mystery of the castle's past, and Pembroke (Harry Groener) the man that Lockhart is supposed to bring back. There are levels to the treatment and Lockhart slowly graduates to more extreme forms of hydrotherapy. Eels keep showing up in the water though the workers assure him that these are only hallucinations.

What is real and simply a trick of the mind isn't clear as Lockhart feels as if he is losing his sanity. The first half or so of this film is very interesting as not much of the mystery is revealed and I had a fun time trying to guess what exactly was going on. The strange images are certainly haunting and there are some gross out factors that made me cringe in my seat. The payoff, however, really lacks and the big reveal feels silly and predictable.

Dehaan's performance was enjoyable as he shows some range to the creepy characters he's played before and it somewhat likable despite playing an unlikable character. Isaacs is always fun to watch and brings a certain element of creepiness that benefits the horror of the facility. I really liked the imagery and the cinematography but all of this is undermined by the silliness of the story and the disappointment of the solution to the mystery.

February is always a rough month for movies but I have been pretty pleased with what has premiered this month. Cure For Wellness is simply a moderate horror but there are enjoyable elements and it isn't totally an uncomfortable watch. The runtime felt a little long and it would have benefited from a shorter script that left more clues and solved the mystery sooner. I am a fan of horror so I feel somewhat pleased with the first part of this film making up for a lackluster ending. 

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