A Cure For Wellness Review
In 2002, I fell in love with a horror movie called "The Ring," I have recently told several stories of my love for "The Ring," and I think it still holds up as one of the best modern horror films right now. That movie was directed by a man named Gore Verbinski. What always stuck with me about "The Ring," even after all these years, was how gracefully and authentically Verbinski created a world of dread in that movie. Its not just in the mood and the atmosphere he creates, but the character development and the music and the goddamn cinematography. That movie is scary because the world Verbinski created was scary, detail to detail. It all still holds up today.
Its interesting because I figured Verbinski would become a profound voice in the world of horror, but the next thing he did was "Pirates of the Caribbean," yeah you read that right, "Pirates of the Caribbean." He would also do "Rango" and "The Lone Ranger" and I kept thinking to myself, will Verbinski ever return to horror? Will Verbinski be a one hit wonder in the genre? I couldn't believe that it was over a decade and Verbinski never made another horror film.
I wish I was more ahead of the curve on "A Cure For Wellness," because I would have ranted and raved about this film during its initial release, I would have begged you all to see this movie on the best screen you could find. Every single gift Verbinski unleashed when making "The Ring?" They are all on full display here in "A Cure For Wellness." Once again; mood, atmosphere, music, character, development, theme, and yes, the damn cinematography all play a part in making this film memorable. It will stick with you. Performances will stick with you. Moments will stick with you. There is subtle horror in this movie. There is surreal horror in this movie. There is body horror in this movie. I am trying to remember really hard, but there is not a single boo-scare in the entire thing. This is natural terror that sweeps through the two and half hour running time of this masterful motion picture. The year 2017 just keeps becoming better and better for the horror genre.
One thing "A Cure For Wellness" has going for it is a great lead performance by Dane DeHaan, who is easily one of the best actors of his generation. DeHaan plays Lockhart, a young and ambitious worker at a large financial company. He is sent to retrieve the company's CEO from a beautiful but mysterious "wellness center" in the remote Swiss Alps. Lockhart seems to like what he sees, nothing out of the ordinary. Until he ironically gets trapped at the wellness center. He also begins to learn the bizarre history of the wellness center, and the sinister plans behind the leader of it. We feel the deterioration of Dane DeHaan's character, and its all surrealistically frightening.
Jason Isaacs has been one of our most reliable villain actors, and he does not disappoint here. You may remember him in "The Patriot" but he was just as good a villain in "Peter Pan" from 2003. He plays the leader of the wellness center and Isaacs really turns on the creep factor. There is a moment right at the end of the film that is so deeply disturbing that he may permanently scar you from the actor for a millennia. But he charges full steam ahead and never waivers from himself.
But easily the best thing about "A Cure For Wellness" is just how awesome it is that Gore Verbinski is back in the horror game. I sincerely hope that he stays here, because he deserves to be here. He's wonderful as a director and if he keeps down this path, he will be remembered as one of the all-time greats.
FINAL GRADE: A-