Cure for Wellness, A (2017) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Cure for Wellness, A (2017)

Published

on

A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for WellnessStarring Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth

Directed by Gore Verbinski


When an unscrupulous, ladder-climbing young executive named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan, from “In Treatment” and Chronicle) is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious wellness center at a foggy, remote location in the Swiss Alps, he jumps at the chance to take charge. But, being driven along a super-steep mountain road, he’s involved in a car wreck that results in him being entombed in a full leg-cast and checked in as a patient at the healing spa.

After a series of odd and unsettling events, Lockhart comes to suspect that the sanatorium’s miraculous remedies are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its startling secrets, his sanity is tested as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests there, longing for the lifesaving cure.

The doctor in charge of the slack-jawed, glassy-eyed guests is Dr. Heinrich Volmer (Jason Isaacs from the Harry Potter movies, and “Brotherhood” – channeling vintage Vincent Price), and while he holds all of them dear, his dearest charge is the nubile and ethereal teen, Hannah (Mia Goth, from Nymphomaniac and the upcoming Suspiria reboot). When Lockhart and Hannah start to get friendly, Volmer becomes decidedly unfriendly, and the wounded Wall Street warrior is subjected to a series of shocking “treatments” that are squirm-inducing to say the least.

Between the undulating eels and dentist’s drills, there’s a mystery unfolding, little by little, ot the least of which involves the streams of water flowing through the spa: From bottled to bathtub, and from tanks to caves, the evil elixir is not what it seems.

This is a large-scale Gothic mystery along the lines of Shutter Island, Stoneheart Asylum, and Crimson Peak. And, taking it back a few decades, there are tonal similarities to Dario Argento’s Deep Red, Roman Polanski’s The Tenant, and even Michael Crichton’s Coma. There’s a touch of early-era body horror here, taking cues from the classic Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but A Cure for Wellness is unabashedly R-rated. It’s interesting to note that the studio’s description for A Cure for Wellness does not even mention director Gore Verbinski’s biggest blockbusters (The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise), but rather name-checks his oddly unsettling horror remake from 2002, The Ring. Verbinski, a former punk rock guitarist turned filmmaker, has an affinity for striking, idiosyncratic visuals in all of his films (even going back to his first feature, the largely misunderstood dark comedy Mouse Hunt), and he holds nothing back here.

A Cure for Wellness is a gorgeously Goth opus, complete with melodrama, a mysterious castle, a mustache-twirling villain, a wide-eyed innocent beauty, and the beleaguered beau who risks it all to rescue her from a frightening fate. The sets and locations are truly magnificent, and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli takes artistic advantage of everything from the hard, green-tiled floors to the soft, pink quivering lips of the heroine. It’s a lush, deliberately-paced film which rewards patient viewers and gives them something pretty to look at along the way.

Having said that, there are a few things that don’t add up when all is said and done. Rational viewers might finish the film shaking their heads, wondering exactly what the whole point was. I did, too, at first. Then I decided to surrender to the macabre insanity and take a dive into those deep waters, and I’m glad I did.

  • Film
Sending
User Rating 3.2 (20 votes)

Comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Reviews

Us and Them Review – Fantastic Acting Bolsters a Tense Standoff

Published

on

Starring Jack Roth, Andrew Tiernan, Tim Bentinck, Sophie Colquhoun

Written by Joe Martin

Directed by Joe Martin


The age old debate of “Is this movie actually horror?” has been around for decades and will probably carry on for the rest of eternity. As Kristy Puchko recently tweeted, “Just because you think it’s also art doesn’t mean it’s not horror. It just means your definition of “horror” is too damn narrow.” Horror should be able to cast a wide net, just as films in the comedy and drama genres are able to. Where that goes awry is when a film simply doesn’t know its own identity, as is the case with Joe Martin’s feature-length directorial debut Us and Them.

The film follows Danny (Roth), a young man struggling in his lower class status and bristling with untapped rage at the 1% who use the downtrodden as footstools for their enterprises. Hatching a plan with his pals Tommy and Sean to break into the home of a wealthy banker, that scheme quickly becomes unraveled as thread after thread beings unraveling from the original tapestry. Determined but without a Plan B, Danny attempts to use the opportunity to drive home a message to the masses via social media to show that the 99% need to rise up against the 1% and create, as he says, some consistency. But as tensions arise within Danny, Tommy, and Sean, it’s questionable whether or not the night will end in triumphant rebellion or sadistic revenge.

Clocking in at a lean 83 minutes, Us and Them doesn’t waste any time getting straight to the point. Within the first few minutes, we’re already deep mix and ready to watch Danny take on the “man”, to see him wage war against the establishment. But as the film goes on, his mission begins to feel empty as his lack of a plan is mirrored by the misdirection of his anger towards a family that, for all intents and purposes, might be snobbish but haven’t been shown to hurt anyone personally.

This resulting conflict then raises questions about the greater fight that Danny has decided to undertake and champion. Who is the real villain of this story? Who is the hero? Who are we even supposed to care one bit about? While Danny spouts on and on about the injustices of the world, his tortuous methods are cruel and manipulative, undermining his own self-righteousness.

Us and Them practically screams its Ritchie, Tarantino, and de Palma influences. From split screen scenes to “hip” and “cool” licensed background music, Martin clearly wants to be seen in the same realm. The problem is that his script leaps around with reckless abandon in an attempt to overly explain the simple story instead of finding ways to break it into new and exciting territory.

Despite these issues, it must be said that the performances are fantastic across the board. Roth shines as Danny, torn by his own personal griefs that can easily draw sympathy, while Bentinck’s almost frothing, slobbering disdain splashes across the screen. Even with only a few lines each, both Colquhoun as Phillipa and Carolyn Backhouse, who plays her mother, Margaret, revel in their terror. And while I have my critiques about the violence Danny inflicts, I cannot deny that it is brutal and makes for a squeamish experience. Martin milks every drop of the family’s fear to great effect.

While Us and Them comes at a time when financial inequality is undeniably an issue, the film loses its purpose just as it fails to cement itself as a heist thriller, a horror home invasion, or even a black comedy. Its unwillingness to embrace any, or even all, of these genres makes it a lacking film experience.

  • Us and Them
2.5

Summary

Us and Them is anchored by stellar performances, Roth especially, but it can’t decide what it wants to be or whom it wants to champion.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)

Comments

Continue Reading

Reviews

SockMonster Short Film Review – The Day The Laundry Fought Back

Published

on

Starring Briana Evigan, Derek Mears, Soso Bianchi

Directed by Wesley Alley


While some might detest the prospect of doing laundry, I personally find it quite therapeutic – the act of separating the whites from the colors, the perfect amount of detergent to spruce up that awkwardly funky favorite shirt of yours, and then there’s the dryer…a beast all its own. Too long a cycle will have your garments shrunken down to the point where they could become a fashion accessory for a chihuahua – too short will have them wet, wrinkled and limp to the touch, kind of like grandma tucked away in the basement – okay, forget that last part. But what if one day, your laundry had just enough of your shit and decided to strike back in blinding semblance?

Enter Wesley Alley’s short film, SockMonster – produced by Darren Lynn Bousman, this 4 minute front-row seat to “laundrycide” if you will stars Briana Evigan as a grieving woman who looks longingly into the tumbling cylinder of her cellar dryer, almost as if something of hers has gone missing. Crouched on a cold-slab cement floor, she awaits for the door to open as soon as the appliance has run its course…and the results are less than spring-fresh. Alley’s direction coupled with the horror know-how of Bousman all add up to a seriously fun few minutes, and toss in the towering, menacing form of one Derek Mears, and you’ve got yourself an insanely concocted quickie that only has one glaring negative – it’s too damn short! Overall, I can’t recommend this one enough to those wanting a little blood with their bleach…just make sure to use the appropriate amount of stain-lifter, or that shit will NEVER come out.

  • Film
4.0

Summary

Hate doing the wash? Well, maybe for one hot minute did you think about how much your wash hates you right back?

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)

Comments

Continue Reading

News

Who Goes There Podcast: Ep159 – Demons at the Door

Published

on

For the last year, Producer Shane has been bugging the shit out of us to give him a “Producer Shane Pick”. After doing everything in our power to get him to forget about “his pick” Shane got his wish. This week we’re discussing 2004’s Demons at the Door, a movie who’s entire soundtrack is provided by none other than the Insane Clown Posse. Yup, it’s gonna be one of those shows!

You think you’ve got what it takes? I’ve been guarding my gate for a long time, bitch. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 159!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

Comments

Continue Reading

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC