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A Cure For Wellness

            review by Bobby Blakey

These days there are few films that really give a sense of originality thanks to the popularity of sequels and remakes, but every so often something comes along that attempts to stand out. The latest A Cure For Wellness from director Gore Verbinski looks to be one of those bizarre films that will either connect and deliver or not, but either way looks engaging at the least. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, and Mia Goth, but does it offer up a story that is as interesting as it looks or will it be a disease with no cure?

A Cure For Wellness follows an ambitious young executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps.  He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.  When he begins to unravel it’s terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this film, but with the bizarre nature of the trailer I was sure it was going to be something to remember and I was not disappointed. There is no denying that this a strange and sometimes disturbing film that is purely something unique. Despite the trailer giving off the vibe that it is a strange overly complicated story the film is actually pretty easy to follow, but definitely veers into the world of the strange throughout.

Dane DeHaan does a great job at leading the charge bringing a snotty attitude to the character to help make him very focused on what he wants which allows him to be broken down completely. The rest of the cast do a fine job as well, but the majority of this film rests on the shoulders of DeHaan and he does not disappoint. It’s the supporting players that surround this facility that really make it work with most of them non-named actors. These people bring you to the level of joy and comfort that is highly uncomfortable from the moment you arrive at the facility. As the story unravels there are elements that are pretty predictable if you pay close enough attention, but that does it make it any less compelling. I really enjoyed the bizarre direction it took offering up an almost Hitchcock like vibe throughout.

To add to the interesting elements of the film the visuals are amazingly beautiful. The surrounding area throughout the journey to get to the facility is mesmerizing, but the change to the more greys and darker tones along with whites are just as interesting. All of this plays directly into the tone of the story along with the hypnotic music that directly slaps every one of your senses to make this film have a much bigger effect on you as a whole. While the film isn’t scary in anyway, it is pretty disturbing at times with some cringe worthy moments and pretty disgusting elements. Some people will obviously be affected more than others, but it’s this sort of thing that makes the film work as a completed whole.

If there is any complaint it is that it could have been trimmed down a bit as there are some moments in the story that drag, but for me it never stopped being interesting enough for me to really worry about it. I figured out most of the twists pretty easily which was a bit disappointing, but I loved the journey and overall execution of this original tale. In a world where we just don’t get that many really original stories I found this strange journey refreshingly bizarre and one that I hope people are willing to give a chance to. 

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