Comfortable and Furious

A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for Wellness-2 hours, 26 minutes

Rated (R) for copious geriatric nudity, graphic dental torture, body horror

Tagline: The cure for the human condition is disease

Who is this film perfect for? People who wish that Dario Argento had been given a really big Hollywood budget during his prime. A Cure for Wellness is lush and stylish, a visual feast of classic gothic icononology.

Who will not like this film? Like much of classic European horror, this film is more about imagery and less about direct horror.

More Summation: Giallo achieves an amplification of horror by means of exploiting cognitive dissonance. The rapturous is juxtaposed with the revolting, and the combination is what gives the style its unique aesthetics and lasting charm.

Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is a Wall Street wolf who is dispatched to a remote Swiss health spa to retrieve the AWOL CEO of his corporation (Harry Groener). Of course, though, no one’s allowed to leave the sanitarium. Predictably, the local police also believe that Lockhart is a patient that voluntarily committed himself to being there. Besides, who’d ever want to leave such a luxurious and beautiful health clinic? Director Volmer (Jason Isaacs) comes up with one trick after another to keep Lockhart from going outside of the sanitarium grounds.

From there, we have a movie that follows some the patterns of Shock Corridor and Shutter Island, but Verbinski doles out ample red herrings. I remained unsure of how the film was going to tilt until the ending arrived.

Body Count: Four on screen deaths, which vary from the mundane to the luridly creative. This is a film that’s more about the fear of all the horrible things that doctors can do to you when you are under their control.

Nudity: Gore Verbinski’s clinical Mercedes Benz- advertisement style of cinematography does not lend itself particularly to eros. But you’ll get to see the most shuffling naked old men outside of a film about the Holocaust. Verbinski essentially turns the anxiety of the gym locker room into another aspect of the luxurious / repellant cognitive dissonance which fuels this film.

How Terrible is it, after all?

Its an excellent horror film that I wouldn’t want most people to see. That may be my own phobias speaking, which were amply pushed while watching this film. In terms of pacing, its much more akin to Black Sunday or Eyes Without a Face, a steady dungeon delve of mounting revelations and distractions.

Lessons on How Not to Die:

  • Don’t drink the water
  • Don’t trust the diagnosis the doctors give you. Ask for a second opinion at another hospital.
  • Running to the local village to notify authorities is not sufficient

Fair Value for A Cure for Wellness: $13.00. A terrific entry in the burgeoning Giallo revival, Gore Verbinskis’s best film since The Ring.