A Cure for Wellness

Rated: R

WARNING: Contains Spoilers 

        While it’s a premise that’s been done to death, I couldn’t help but want to see
A Cure for Wellness after seeing the trailers on TV. The premise goes like this: For some reason a man is sent to a “wellness facility” to retrieve his boss, but ends up caught there himself. It’s been done with Shutter Island, (which I love), and (to a degree) with The Snake Pit, and Girl Interrupted, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and 28 Days, and countless others over the years,  and it’s a premise that I can’t help but want to see every time.
        Unfortunately though, I should’ve saved my money and time. I’m not saying the entire film was garbage, just that there were many opportunities for this film to be better than it is, that the filmmakers ignored.  For example, the film’s runtime is 2 hours 26 minutes, but it was obvious at many points throughout that it could’ve easily been cut to 2 hours or less. There were many scenes that could’ve been cut entirely, or at least dramatically shortened, and none of the film’s quality or story would’ve been lost.
        Another thing I didn’t like about it was the way it jumped around. I understand that plenty of films interrupt the timeline to add in past actions of their characters, but usually it’s done in a way that the audience can at least piece together by the end. In
A Cure for Wellness this wasn’t the case. There are scenes of the main character’s past peppered throughout the film with no context, and that may, or may not have actually happened to him.  One such scene includes his mother’s cremation, which he attends, but earlier in the film he’s shown to already be in Switzerland when this supposedly happened, which muddles things considerably for those of us trying to make sense of it all.
        And then there’s the ending, which I already mentioned seemed to go on forever. The last 15-20 minutes of a film is supposed to be the conclusion of the events that have transpired, for better or worse. These crucial minutes are supposed to tie up the loose ends left throughout the rest of the story, and show the audience why everything transpired in the first place. Sadly this didn’t happen in
A Cure for Wellness.
        The conclusion (if you can call it that) for this film did nothing but leave a bad taste in my mouth, right down to the closing shot. Just when I thought things had gotten beyond creepy (the “why” this all happened), the film trudges on for another 26 minutes bringing the disgusting confusion to a whole new level. From eels being the elixir of life, to a now faceless man attempting to sleep with his own daughter, to cult members living for over 200 years, the last minutes of this film leave one more bewildered than satisfied. The final shot shows the main character, Lockhart, and Hannah (the leader’s daughter) racing towards town on a bike, with Lockhart flashing a terrifying and sinister grin at all who care to look. There’s no reason for that. If anything he should be relieved to finally have left the awful grips of the place, but instead we’re left to wonder if this was all a part of some nefarious plan. That scene, and the smile in particular, just doesn’t fit.
A Cure for Wellness tried its best to fill the shoes that Martin Scorsese left behind with Shutter Island, but what we’ve got instead is a child trying to fill a parent’s shoes. This film is nothing but a goofy attempt at horror and misses the mark completely. If I were you I’d stay home and watch Shutter Island again instead!

A Cure for Wellness is rated R, was directed by Gore Verbinski (the man behind The Pirates of the Caribbean Movies, so I definitely expected more!) and stars Dane Dehaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth. It is currently in theaters.