“Hype is the awkward and desperate attempt to convince journalists that what you’ve made is worth the misery of having to review it.”
I always tell myself to let the hype simmer on a low heat. To let it boil is to say the movie I haven’t seen yet is going to surpass my unrealistic expectations. The films that live up to and surpass my highest hopes are far and few between; Mad Max: Fury Road, John Wick: Chapter 2, Arrival, just to name a few recent efforts. Then there are the films that were meant to change the very spectrum of the genre they are trying to inhabit, only to fall well short of anything remotely game changing, never mind just being great or even good. This is, I’m afraid, where A Cure for Wellness lies, in the land of forgotten, unrealized potential. Is it bad? No. Is it good? Maybe? I hate to be vague but I didn’t know what I was getting into with this one and while often times that’s a good thing, in this case, knowing a bit more may have helped. For instance, a second viewing, now knowing what I’m getting here, may help my enjoyment factor. But that remains to be seen.
For now, my thoughts after one viewing.
The idea that this is horror is loose on the definition. It is psychological horror but more so in the idea that experiencing what the main character goes through ourselves would absolutely be horrifying. To watch it happen though? Eh. This is a well-acted, BEAUTIFULLY shot thriller that had a yearning for greatness but unfortunately settled for mediocrity, at best. Dane DeHaan is continuing to convey his talent in the industry as one to keep an eye on. Jason Isaacs is at times unnerving in his contained, never uncontrolled approach to DeHaan’s character’s unhinged behavior that threatens the wellness center, where it all happens. Or doesn’t happen. (dun dun DUN!! *insert crazy eyes*) Everyone here is trying really hard to make a predictable story feel exciting and as bizarre as it should have been. That said, predictability in a mystery film of sorts is a bit like a death sentence for the film itself. Dead on arrival if you will.
I enjoyed the film to a point, it possesses many likeable qualities but these qualities add up to nothing more than making us as the audience walk away thinking, “Okay, yep.” That’s a far cry from saying it was downright awful. It’s also just as far from being great.
To learn of Gore Verbinski giving up his wayward inclinations on the high seas for a more horror-like adventure was intriguing to say the least. It was enough for me and my interest to be peaked. My ears were up, awaiting something, please let it be special. If everything is special though, nothing is. A Cure for Wellness promised a big budget, demented deterioration of the psychosis and all the grotesqueness that should come with such a dark tale. While there are scenes that makes one squirm in their seat (always brush your teeth on a daily basis) they are replaced with attempts of psychological terror. The attempts never seem to stick the landing. Eels are scary I guess, at least in this movie they’re supposed to be. Do I want them in my swimming pool? Absolutely not! Do I think of them as viable plot devices for moments of horror? Maybe in small doses. Not to this scale and amount of screen time spent on legless fish… eels.
I wanted unceasing horror. I hoped for the main character to be thrown into a hell of unimaginable terror. I wanted the good to be put through the wringer only to fall short of daylight and redemption. I yearned for feelings of uncertainty of who is crazy and who isn’t. It was always clear who’s who in this unsurprising, yet valiant effort at trying something different however familiar it ended up being. A for effort. C for execution.
What can I say, I let the hype get the best of me yet again! Drats! I’m only human it turns out. So are those that made this movie and their fallible nature is showing through a bit too much. A Cure for Wellness will hit hard for the briefest of moments and fizzle out into the land of obscurity, left alone to find a cure for its own pale complexion.
Rated R For: disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language
Runtime: 146 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi
Directed By: Gore Verbinski
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 3.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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