‘A Cure For Wellness’ Is An Entertaining and Uncomfortable Thrill Ride!
Gore Verbinski returns to the horror genre with one of the most shocking studio films in years. ‘A Cure For Wellness‘ opens February 17th and I’m awaiting the pubic’s reaction to this shocking piece. Verbinski holds very little back but by the end, he doesn’t push the boundaries enough. When the story has seemingly delivered the final blow, there’s still about 20 minutes left. The film goes from an unnerving pieces and shifts into a more familiar Hollywood third act. Until that sudden shift, ‘A Cure For Wellness‘ reminds me of the masterful horror films of David Cronenberg.
The Cronenberg Connections:
To start off, I’ll give a little background on who David Cronenberg is. The Canadian filmmaker began his film career creating shocking films filled with vomit-inducing body horror. Cronenberg’s film then began taking a more cerebral twist, diving into social commentaries and personal strife. His body of work includes films like ‘Shivers‘, ‘The Brood‘, and ‘Scanners‘. Cronenberg has also directed more popular pieces like ‘Videodrome‘, ‘The Fly‘, ‘Naked Lunch‘, and ‘A History of Violence‘.
Almost every one of those films mentioned seem to have influenced ‘A Cure For Wellness‘. When I first saw the trailers, I felt the H.P. Lovecraft influence but actually seeing the film…it’s totally David Cronenberg meets ‘Cocoon‘.
First, it’s all the body horror that screams CRONENBERG! Hollywood horror usually has some gore or only gore if you’re ‘Saw’ but the way Verbinski uses it in this film is tremendous. One scene that sticks out in particular is the drilling of a tooth. It starts out with a tooth falling out of Dane Dehaan’s character Mr. Lockhart but it only gets grosser from there. He asks for help from one of the doctors at the wellness center and this leads to one of the most intense and brutal scenes I’ve seen a while.
There’s also a lot of social commentary in ‘A Cure For Wellness‘, something David Cronenberg is known. I admire Gore Verbinski for taking a brash but less preachy route to delivering his message. Like Cronenberg, Verbinski dives into deep thoughts about how society is being corrupt and we need to cleanse the filth of the world. It’s something I didn’t expect from the film but it’s an intriguing change from all the gross stuff!
Paving Its Own Way:
Yes, ‘A Cure For Wellness‘ is inspired but that doesn’t mean it’s not original.
The way this film breaks down age is wonderful. It’s deep and impactful. There’s something sad about how bad these people want to be cured from their horrible normal lives that they’d run to this place. That speaks deeply into the beauty culture as well as how society views aging in general.
Another thing that separates this from many other “body horror” movies is the Gothic/Victorian flair. From start to finish, it feels like a classic morose fairytale. This is when Gore Verbinski starts calling back to himself as the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘ franchise, as well as ‘The Ring‘, have a gothic feeling.
‘A Cure For Wellness‘ isn’t perfect but close. It’s almost there with the terrifying body horror and unique screenplay but it starts to lose its originality near the end. Also, the film expect you to put aside any sort of realism from the get-go so this film isn’t for everyone.
I personally loved it and would recommend it to obscure horror fans!
Synopsis:An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests there longing for the cure.
Genre: Psychological Horror
Directed By: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Dane Dehaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs