All I can say is ewww… A Cure For Wellness does a great job at making you cringe and it has plenty of “What the hell” moments. However, it has have plenty of flaws and issues as well. A lot of people, myself included, compared it to Shutter Island after I first saw the trailer. After seeing it, it’s not much like Shutter Island at all. It reminded me more of Eyes Wide Shut honestly. It’s just not nearly as good as that Kubrick classic. Let’s start off with the good aspects of the film.
A Wall Street stockbroker (Dane DeHaan) travels to a remote location in the Swiss Alps to retrieve his company’s CEO (Harry Groener) from an idyllic but mysterious wellness center. He soon suspects that the miraculous treatments are not what they seem. His sanity is tested when he unravels the spa’s terrifying secrets and finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all of the guests there longing for a cure.
The story follows Lockhart (Dane DeHaan, The Amazing Spiderman 2) who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious “wellness” facility in the Swiss Alps. Dehaan delivers a solid performance as Lockhart. There is an interesting character transformation throughout the movie.
The cinematography in this movie is incredible. I was very impressed with the stylistic choices of camera movement and the use of reflections for dialogue scenes and establishing shots. The color grading is also great. It has a very dull, unsaturated, and
“sick” feel to it. That fit the movie very well.
The soundtrack was fantastic. It was creepy and very memorable. There were a lot of scenes that has this certain piano sound that really made it much more tense.
The story overall is intriguing, but it’s very flawed and doesn’t exactly make sense. That was my biggest concern going into the film. I was worried it would have too many twist and turns and not everything would be explained. That is the case, unfortunately. A Cure For Wellness leaves too many unanswered questions. There’s a difference in leaving a cliffhanger ending or leaving the conclusion to be determined by the viewers, and just flat-out not explaining things that need an explanation.
Now let’s jump into the bad aspects of the film. First off, at 2 hours and 26 minutes, the runtime of this movie is WAY too long. I found myself thinking it was going to end two or three times, only to discover it had 30 minutes left. It could have easily been 1 hour and 50 minutes or 2 hours. The pacing is like a roller coaster. Some scenes are completely pointless and there is too much time between the weird aspects of the sanitarium and back story on Lockart that the movie didn’t really need.
It is predictable at times, and there are too many moments where things happen just right for the main character to propel the plot. I never truly felt like Lockhart was in danger, and in a movie like this I should have felt like that often.
There are plenty of cringe worthy and overall disgusting moments. I found myself turning away from the screen a handful of times. If you’re into that kind of stuff, then you’ll love it. If you have a weak stomach, then you might be in trouble.
Overall, A Cure For Wellness had potential to be a cult classic, but it fell short. From a production standpoint, it’s very enjoyable. There are certain parts of the story that are executed very well, but the audience is left with too many unanswered questions. I wouldn’t recommend rushing to theaters to see it. It serves better as a Redbox movie.