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Dane De
Haan in A Cure for Wellness Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the thành phố new york Film Critics Circle & the National Society of Film Critics.
A Cure for Wellness clocks in at 146 minutes long, và writer-director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lone Ranger) and his co-writer Justin Haythe cram every one of those minutes with pure, undiluted silliness. Then they douse them in kerosene and light them on fire.

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That’s not to say it’s a bad movie. (It’s not really to say it’s a good movie, either.) A Cure for Wellness is so bonkers that a thumbs-up/thumbs-down evaluation seems beside the point. It’s the sort of movie that can only be described by talking about other things: It’s like Crimson Peak meets Mr. Robot meets Shutter Island meets The Phantom of the Opera meets Gaslight.



It is a thoroughly distracting film, entertaining a lot of the time, & ambitious in the way studio movies rarely get to be. So in its own way, A Cure for Wellness is an accomplishment. But it’s also a bewildering viewing experience, one best undertaken armed with a bit of knowledge regarding gothic horror antecedents và strong commitment to rattling your psyche và grossing you out. A road bản đồ aids in navigating it with care.

Dane De
Haan in A Cure for Wellness. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation So here is a guide to lớn the five stages of watching A Cure for Wellness.

Stage 1: curiosity

The very first scene of A Cure for Wellness could have been ripped straight from Mr. Robot: A man who’s alone in a big office at night suddenly keels over và dies.

The kích hoạt moves quickly from there: Shortly thereafter, ambitious young executive Lockhart (Dane De
Haan) is called into a meeting with the board of the corporation he works for. He’s more or less blackmailed into traveling to Switzerland lớn locate the company’s CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener), who has disappeared to a spa chăm sóc sức khỏe và làm đẹp in the Alps và gone incommunicado. They need Pembroke back khổng lồ complete a merger.

On his way up the mountain, Lockhart, in talking khổng lồ his driver, learns the unsurprising fact that the people in the town pretty much hate “the people on the hill,” a.k.a. The occupants of the spa, which is housed in a castle once owned by a baron who was the subject of terrible rumors many centuries ago.

This setup — the young man traveling to lớn a literal castle in Switzerland (actually filmed in Germany) to quickly find and bring trang chủ his quái dị — is obviously not headed for straightforward resolution, a fact underlined by all the strange things Lockhart hears and sees during his journey to lớn the spa, & upon arrival. The uncannily calm và sunny facility contrasts sharply with the dirty village down the hill. It looks more like an asylum from a century ago than a cushy spa.

So it’s a good wind-up for a mystery, and at this point, it seems a mystery is exactly what’s unfolding. Our curiosity teased, the film moves on to lớn the second stage.

Stage 2: confusion

Something’s very weird about the place, of course, and it’s not just the anachronistic surroundings. Every patient is old, for starters — except an otherworldly young girl named Hannah (Mia Goth). (The attendants are all young và attractive.) All the old people were once high-powered executives at major corporations. Everyone’s clothed in trắng garments all the time.

Hannah has been there forever, left by her parents because of her vague “sickness,” to lớn be cared for by the head doctor, Volmer (Jason Isaacs), a handsome and soothing man. Every patient drinks copious amounts of the local water, which the spa staff claims has nearly magical healing properties, & participates in various hydrotherapies for “the sickness.” They’re at the castle for “the cure.” (The nature of the cure is uncertain: “Purity Before Wellness,” a motto on a sign reads.)

Dane De
Haan in A Cure for Wellness. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Lockhart hoped khổng lồ be in và out the door quickly, but Pembroke is not at all ready to go. When Lockhart eventually insists on leaving, his oto is involved in a mysterious accident on the way down the hill, & he’s checked into the spa to tend khổng lồ his broken leg.

Stage 3: grossed-out disgust

Finally agreeing khổng lồ submit to the cure — whatever it may be — Lockhart finds himself in a sensory deprivation tank, connected lớn an oxygen tube. The dour male attendant tells him to just relax as the tank fills with water. But as that attendant is distracted by a female one (who unbuttons her vị trí cao nhất as he unzips his pants), the tank Lockhart is floating in fills, suddenly, with eels.

Actually, there are a lot of eels in this movie. They keep popping up in places where people would be vulnerable, especially in the vicinity of their nether regions: toilets, ponds, places lượt thích that. The eels are obviously a symbol, as is the water, và the residents’ white clothing, and, as it turns out, lots of other things in the film.

Mia Goth in A Cure for Wellness. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Most of the symbols trace back to one of two things: an obsession with purity (especially purity of blood & of bloodlines) and an interest in the things that invade or invalidate that purity. The baron, for instance, was hated by the villagers because of rumors of incestuous relations with his sister in an attempt lớn keep his bloodline pure.

Incest is a classic trope in gothic horror stories — & gothic horror is really the core genre of A Cure for Wellness, even though the film has been wrapped in the packaging of a thriller & advertised as such. Gothic horror (think of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rebecca, or Crimson Peak) is all about mixing và contrasting the beautiful và damnable, the soothing and horrifying, the pure & the profane, khổng lồ leave us both cringing and transported, unable khổng lồ look away và not really wanting khổng lồ either.

A Cure for Wellness has no qualms about following this template by leaning into its gross-out factor; it is not a film for the faint of heart. But its imagery is also its most compelling feature, và it’s awfully hard to resist the pull of its squicky, morbid fascination.

Stage 4: disbelief

We’ve reached the juncture of this review where it’s wise lớn cease giving away plot details. But plot also essentially stops mattering around the film’s midpoint, ceding ground to an ever-nuttier parade of set pieces that seem set on a spiral plunge into batshittery.

I watched the last half-hour or so of A Cure for Wellness with my hands clasped over my slightly agape mouth, not quite sure what was happening. It’s overstuffed, and could easily have ended at least a half-hour earlier; it would have come off as a kind of morality fable about the perils of modern workaholism.

Jason Isaacs in A Cure for Wellness. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation But then it would not be A Cure for Wellness. Và the choice to lớn let the tale keep spinning past a more obvious conclusion is revealing. When a movie ups the ante visually and narratively at every opportunity, it’s no longer striving for coherence or scintillating social critique — it’s trying khổng lồ evoke something emotional in the audience. It’s trying khổng lồ overstimulate our imaginations, khổng lồ make us feel things in our guts. It’s not about stories or ideas anymore, but about a swelling hurricane of the feels.

Few big-scale studio movies have the gumption to lớn try this sort of tactic outside of kích hoạt movies, which pile on the explosions to evoke a similar effect. But what is that effect?

It’s catharsis: the feeling of being revved all the way khổng lồ 11, then allowed khổng lồ return to normal, và the feeling of visceral relief. In bombastic gothic horror, the goal is the same, but instead of achieving it through explosions (though there’s plenty of fire), the genre relies on your counterintuitively delicious disgust. After A Cure for Wellness, your weird relationship problems và frustrating medical difficulties will seem pretty mild.

Stage 5: raving insanity

This is the part that happens on the way out of the theater, when you turn lớn your friend and ask, “What the hell did we just see?”

A Cure for Wellness is not interested in comfort or predictability. Nor does it slink out of the unconscious peacefully.

Why? The aforementioned cathartic disgust is part of it. But A Cure for Wellness also taps into the uncanny, in the Freudian sense: It seems familiar, but also incongruous. Sure, it’s set in a castle, and the story heads off in distinctly gothic directions. But it opens in a bleak 21st-century, soul-sucking, corporate New York. & when, in one scene, Lockhart và Hannah sneak off khổng lồ the village, they find themselves among a bunch of skinheads và punks straight out of the 1990s. The movie follows a kind of dream logic — things are next lớn each other because they seem linked by some unconscious rule, not because they logically follow one another.

Mia Goth in A Cure for Wellness. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Uncanniness provokes cognitive dissonance. Our minds are left turning what we saw và experienced over & over, without any resolution. There isn’t really a message in A Cure for Wellness (even though it briefly fakes us out on that point). Audience members looking to lớn resolve the film’s various mysteries will be disappointed. There isn’t one.

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If that means your previously peaceful sleep is interrupted as you wake up in the middle of the night dreaming of eels and dungeons, well, that’s kind of the point. It’s right in the title. In place of wellness, A Cure for Wellness offers weirdness & discomfort.

That a movie can vày that is remarkable. Whether you want the movie to do that is up khổng lồ you.

A Cure for Wellness boasts a surfeit of visual style, but it"s wasted on a derivative và predictable story whose twists, turns, and frights have all been more effectively dealt before. Read critic nhận xét

Photo Credit: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
A Cure for Wellness (2016)

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Movie Info

A Wall Street stockbroker (Dane De
Haan) travels khổng lồ 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 và finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all of the guests there longing for a cure.

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Rating: R (Disturbing Violent Content|An Assault|Sexual Content|Disturbing Violent Images|Graphic Nudity|Language)

Genre: Mystery & thriller, Horror, Drama

Original Language: English

Release Date (Theaters): Feb 17, 2017 wide

Release Date (Streaming): May 31, 2017

Box Office (Gross USA): $7.5M

Runtime: 2h 20m

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Production Co: Blink Wink, New Regency

Sound Mix: Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.85:1)

Cast và Crew

Dane De


Jason Isaacs

Dr. Volmer

Mia Goth


Celia Imrie

Mrs. Watkins

Adrian Schiller

Deputy Director

Harry Groener


Johannes Krisch


Magnus Krepper

Pieter the Vet

Carl Lumbly


Lisa Banes


Ivo Nandi


Jason Babinsky


Eric Todd


Tomas Norström

Frank Hill

Craig Wroe


Ashok Mandanna

Ron Nair

Tom Flynn


Gore Verbinski


Justin Haythe


Arnon Milchan


Gore Verbinski


David Crockett


Justin Haythe

Executive Producer

Morgan Des Groseillers

Executive Producer

Bojan Bazelli


Lance Pereira

Film Editing

Pete Beaudreau

Film Editing

Benjamin Wallfisch

Original Music

Eve Stewart

Production kiến thiết

Jenny Beavan

Costume kiến thiết

Denise Chamian


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