A Cure for Wellness (R)

Starring Dale DeHaan (Lockhart), Mia Goth (Hannah) and Jason Isaacs (Volmer), A Cure for Wellness is the story of an ambitious young executive sent to retrieve one of his company’s board members from a serene but extremely mysterious wellness center in the remote Swiss Alps. Lockhart soon begins to suspect that this spa’s miraculous “treatments” may not be what they seem. Terrifying secrets and his sanity unravel simultaneously as he attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Billed as a drama/fantasy/horror film, unfortunately even in its description, A Cure for Wellness is a film that wants to do and be too many things at once. Mark 8:36 states: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  This is the theme that runs throughout this movie as it thumbs its nose at the greedy elite, but the message gets sort of muddled because simultaneously another part of the story revolves around the mystery behind a legend involving the land the wellness center is built upon, another part is about this wellness center and what really goes on there, and yet another part of the movie features a bazaar love triangle of sorts.

Dale DeHaan does a great job and is such a perfect fit as this young man trying to navigate his way to success in the corporate world at any cost. His life isn’t great, his heart is hardened and he is bitter and unlikeable.  Mia Goth makes a perfectly creepy ethereal muse.  Jason Isaacs is pretty brilliant as a mysterious sort of mad scientist.

The cinematography is sometimes breathtaking. It is indeed a beautiful movie to watch.  The effects, makeup, costume design, set design, are all well done.  A Cure for Wellness, unfortunately, has much trouble with its writing.  The story is messy with multiple stories all playing out at once.  The result is a movie that lacks focus.  At one point the movie seems to become stagnant, and it just takes too long to move along (the risk which is run when a movie is 2 hours and 26 minutes long).  Also, like so many horror movies these days, the end devolves into ridiculousness and what could have been packaged as a somewhat solid story, at the very least, winds up being a waste of time because the end is just so deeply unsatisfying.

Even with the messy story, A Cure for Wellness earned 7 out of 10 bloops.  The acting is fine, but the story goes stagnant and drags at one long point, with a poorly executed resolution.  Even though it may be worth a watch for the beautiful cinematography, the movie is simply too long, and the story is lacking, or has too much crammed into it, depending on how you look at it.  Stream it when it becomes available.  There are worse things you could do with 2 hours and 26 of your life, I suppose.

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

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