WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
Where do I begin with this shit? I’m starting to believe that ‘style over substance’ is a term film nerds made up to defend movies that don’t make a lick of damn sense. I saw the trailer for A Cure For Wellness a couple of weeks back. It looks like a horror/thriller that didn’t give up much plot to keep the suspense. The real reason is probably because they had no way of selling this plot if they actually told you what it was. A Cure For Wellness might be one of the most beautiful dumpster fires that will be released in 2017. No point of dicking around, let’s talk about this film.
The film begins with some guy in an office who suffers one of the most severe heart attacks in cinema history. Turns out this guy’s death is ultimately meaningless and don’t expect this film to explain the little things to you because it only goes downhill from here. We transition to a young executive named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), who gets himself some trouble with the SEC by deliberately changing report numbers to show a better output. But instead of going to jail, he is given the opportunity to go to the Swiss Alps and bring back the company’s CEO who is needed to complete an important merger. So Lockhart goes to do one simple task, find his boss and bring him home. What he finds out is his boss is held captive in one of the nicest looking twisted old folk homes in the world in which he becomes a prisoner and fighting for his life.
The best way I can describe this film is a roller coaster of disappointment. The film is 146 minutes long and the first 60 minutes are dreadful. Every character is unlikable; the dialogue is shocking bad including some very cringeworthy lines, and the story is simply not interesting for the amount of time it takes for anything interesting to happen (unless of course watching naked old people for 30 minutes is a thing for you). The first hour is like being water boarded with a leaky faucet. Ironic that water seems to be the central element of the story as that is all the characters in the film do is drink water. Lockhart suffers from a rollover car crash that he would have likely died from considering he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and the car rolled over more times than a Fast & Furious movie. Instead, he wakes up 3 days later with only a broken leg. It is then he realizes that the staff is preventing him and his boss from leaving. Turns out the Wellness center is actually killing people for…um…I’m not sure actually. The story is so poorly explained that the answers that they give don’t make the plot any easier to understand. There is some angle with deadly Eels and water that actually dehydrates you and causes your teeth to fall out…plus there also seems to be a brainwashing angle to this film what is poorly explained at well. I know this sounds like a poor description of the movie but if you actually watch it, you likely won’t understand more than what I am telling you.
There is so much content in this film to mock like Lockhart have a cast on for nearly a week before realizing his leg was never broken (because I guess it takes him several days to realize he was never in any pain) but there was a part where it actually started to win me over. Lockhart and Hannah (played by Mia Goth aka the only other person under 70) sneak away into town and make a pit stop at a bar. When Lockhart and Hannah begin to bond the film begins to mold into a coherent enjoyable story and you learn a little more about the locals (even the driver of the car that crashed and somehow survived as well). They play around more the legend of how the wellness center was actually being a place where a mad doctor performed controversial experiments on the townspeople. There was even a set up for a Townpeople vs Wellness Center fight for later in the movie. Suddenly what seemed like a terrible time was turning around to be a decent film if they could just end it on a positive note…they couldn’t.
The film turns into complete schlock in the ending and many plot points that were set up aren’t even bothered to be explained. The head of the Wellness Center Volmer (Jason Isaacs) has apparently been alive for 200 years somehow and tried to have a baby with his sister. When that failed he then proceeded to try to have a baby with his daughter who doesn’t know he is her father. Volmer turns into some mutated version of the T-800 and fights Lockhart who returns from his zombie like state (how? I dunno) to save the girl and live happily ever after (however, he may have still been semi-possessed, again I dunno). This movie is like a weird hybrid of Neon Demon and The Human Centipede. A film that mixes good visual filmmaking with some head scratching plot points. Leaving you to decide whether the style was enough to overweigh the complete lack of substance.
I dunno where I stand with this movie, to be honest. I went from really hating it, to really liking it, to accepting it for what it was, an awful horror film that is so bad it’s actually entertaining. My biggest gripe with the film is that it is too long. There is no reason for this film to be 146 minutes long…none. If they had cut the first 45-60 minutes of footage that ultimately led to nothing, I would have given this movie a much higher rating. As it stands A Cure For Nothing (I mean ‘Wellness’) is good enough to be good for all the wrong reasons. If you and your buddies want to get together and laugh at a film that probably wasn’t suppose to be funny, this is the film for you. Otherwise, pass.
OFFICIAL RATING: *
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