A Cure for Wellness



17 February 2017| No Comments on A Cure for Wellness     by Sean Chavel


A Cure for Wellness is a big budget artsy horror film, with no big names, taking place in Switzerland (but mostly shot in Germany) that is something of a vanity project for its director Gore Verbinski (his “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies have made billions at the box office). The first shot of a train whizzing through the mountains of Switzerland is a stunner, and so is another shot on top of the castle looking out at the splendorous Alps terrain. Overall though, the movie – trying essentially to be another “Shutter Island” – is ostentatious and narratively as dumb as a bag of nails.

The movie dares to have someone aggressively cocky and unlikeable as the lead. Lockhart (Dane DeHaan, “Chronicle”) is a financial whiz kid who is curt to all at best, and angry at worst, who is sent by the top brass to bring back a company executive who refuses to leave a mysterious wellness center. He’s like Leo DiCaprio of “The Wolf of Wall Street” without magnetism. He gets to the wellness center and starts barking orders. Then again, the staff is quite a creepy lot and them getting pushed around might be good for them.

In accident occurs which means Lockhart has to stay there indefinitely, now that he has a broken leg and has to saunter around on crutches. The more sinister figures never do keep a good eye on Lockhart since he goes snooping around from room to room, basement to basement, isolation chamber to isolation chamber. We are not quite sure if Lockhart is really seeing eels (a motif) or just imagining them, but the eels go from bothersome to quite voracious.

When the villain explains his evil scheme to the hero, and to the audience, it is incredibly incoherent. I played it back with subtitles, and the passage that should explain the eels still doesn’t make sense. The backend of the film features one of the most loathsome threats of rape that I’ve seen for a movie, it’s squeamish and, well, unearned. The supposed victim is Hannah (Mia Goth), a waifish girl who is the only young patient at the clinic, whom Lockhart has taken a liking to. Although, it is in my humble opinion, Lockhart is too narcissistic a person to ever believably take a liking to anybody.

I was almost going to give the movie two stars, on the basis that it’s curious that any movie in this day and age would be obsessed with German Expressionism film style. But then the movie had to conclude with Lockhart’s work colleagues showing up and having their say, and it’s so dumbly written that I just threw my hands up not in despair, but in spastic frustration. So one and a half stars is where it finishes at.

146 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Frankenstein” (1931); “Coma” (1978); “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” (1994); “Shutter Island” (2010).

Cure for Wellness_Review_2017 Weirdness

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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