A Cure for Wellness (2016) Horror Movie Review
Written By: ML
Edited By: Grave Review Staff
Director(s): Gore Verbinski
Writers(s): Justin Haythe, Gore Verbinski
Producer(s): Amon Milchan, Gore Verbinski, David Crockett
Date Released: December 10, 2016
Dane DeHaan as Lockhart
Jason Isaacs as Dr. Heinreich Volmer/Baron von Reichmerl
Mia Goth as Hannah von Reichmerl
Harry Groener as Roland Pembroke
Celia Imrie as Victoria Watkins
Ivo Nandi as Enrico
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The story begins with the ambitious Lockhart who was promoted after a colleague died. He was tasked to fetch their CEO, Mr. Pembroke, from a wellness spa in Switzerland as his first assignment. When he got to the sanatorium full of old and rich people, he failed to talk to Pembroke, signed something he did not read, and drank a glass of water. He tried to leave the place but got into an accident and ended up as a patient. He met a young girl named Hannah who sparked his curiosity. Weird things started happening to him and as he dug deeper in his quest to convince Pembroke to leave with him, he began to uncover the darkest secret of the wellness facility.
Since this is a psychological horror movie, there are no blood and guts. What made it horrifying are the scenes that will make you gag. One notable scene is from the transmissions room where patients are locked in a cylindrical chamber and forcefully fed with eels. A long tube is inserted through the throat and a huge tank of eels in dirty water is swallowed in big disgusting gulps. The chamber then absorbs the person’s sweat and placed in a blue vial which is said to be “vitamins” taken orally by drops. Also, the movie gave nightmares about drinking a glass of water by showing that the water in the wellness facility dehydrates the patients to death. Not to mention the true skeletal face of Dr. Volmer.
The Grave Review
First good point about this movie is that it revolved around the story of the main characters. It’s simply a case of protagonist versus antagonist. What added to the terrifying atmosphere is the cinematography. The wellness spa was depicted visually like an insane asylum. Everything looks pale and white. The treatments are creepy. The remote location and orderlies speaking in a foreign language made it even crazier.
The second good point is the increasing tension and suspense as the movie progresses. It started out dull but gradually intensified as the mystery and horror unfold.
The third good point is the use of symbolism throughout the entire film. The title is already a clue: a cure for wellness. The question lies as to what is the cure and why they need to treat people if they are well. That is where the mystery lies. According Dr. Volmer, the facility aims to treat people who are suffering from stress and pressures of the modern world. But that is not the case. The urban legend tells the tale about the baron and his incestuous affairs that happened 200 years ago.
Apparently, Dr. Volmer, came out to be the actual baron and Hannah was the daughter. What made it questionable is the timeline. The baron waited for 200 years for Hannah to become a woman so he can continue his incestuous plans for a pure bloodline. For 200 years, the place served as a “wellness” facility that harvests the immortality liquid from the dehydrated old people just so the baron can live up to the present time. That’s a bit tiring for the baron and the orderlies.
Overall, the movie is disturbing, insanely weird, super gross, and mind-blowing. The idea of a mad scientist experimenting for centuries and the daughter’s growth just lacked the proper back story.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives A Cure for Wellness (2016) three and a half graves out of five graves.
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