(PCM) Gore Verbinski has returned with a masterful tale called, “A Cure for Wellness”. The visionary director hit gold with The Pirates of the Caribbean series including: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) which made the industry record with the highest opening weekend of all time. Gore Verbinski would also introduce fans to the horror hit 2002’s “The Ring”.
Verbinski has returned to the horror genre with his latest film. “A Cure for Wellness” follows the story of an ambitious young business man who is sent to a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps to bring the CEO of the company back home. The young man soon realizes that the treatments at the wellness center are nothing as it seems.
Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider- Man 2, Chronicle) portrays the young business man named Lockhart. The character isn’t likable from the very start. DeHaan, does an amazing job portraying a character who is so self-absorbed that he is blind to the occurrences going on around him. This is done by showing Lockhart all about work and not really caring at all about his dying mother, and just having a cold exterior. Audience opinion of the Lockhart character slowly turn as we witness what he goes through to uncover the horrible secrets of the wellness center. Harry Groener portrays Pembroke the embattled CEO that seems to be out of his mind at times when talking to Lockhart. Jason Isaacs plays the mysterious Volmer, who is the facility director. The character of Volmer comes off as charming, but audiences can tell that something is amiss when he first appears onscreen.
Mia Goth portrays Hannah a mysterious girl who hangs around the wellness center. Hannah is shy and doesn’t speak that often. It is blatantly obvious that she knows a little more of what’s going on in the wellness center than other people. Mia Goth does an outstanding job with this role. It can be challenging for an actress to hold her own with two great actors that have more screen time than her, but she nails the performance of Hannah.
The movie is long, with a run time of 146 minutes, that is a lot of time to invest in a film. Verbinski does a good job pacing out the movie to catch the viewers interest. The story was written by Verbinski and Justin Haythe. The story is flawed in a couple areas. In one scene when Lockhart first gets to the wellness center he signs his name at the bottom of a clipboard presuming he’s signing into see a guest. What Lockhart is signing is his consent to stay. In the story, Lockhart is portrayed as a very meticulous person. Yet he does not read what he is signing.
The film is set in present day, but has a feel like it was set decades ago. The set designs for the wellness center are amazing and gives it an extra special creepy feeling. The team of Bojan Bazelli, and Verbinski, work marvels together. They first worked together on The Ring 15 years ago, and the two prove they can shoot a marvelous film that combines ambiance and horror. If you are squeamish you might be hard pressed to watch this film. This film features eels in all their wiggly glory. There’s eels in a bathtub, a pool, and a sensory deprivation tank to name a few.
20th Century Fox took a big chance with this film, but it looks like they hired the right man for the job. When first viewing the trailer many fans will see similarities between “Shutter Island”, but upon viewing the film “A Cure For Wellness” stands on its own.