In Brief: An actual cure for today’s anemic horror movies. This one is terrific
A Cure for Wellness sends Lockhart — an ambitious financial world climber — to a swank chalet in the Swiss Alps to retrieve the CEO of his company. The guy’s colleagues want him back to take the fall for company legal misdeeds.
If successful, Lockhart will be offered a nice promotion. The problem? First, the CEO won’t leave and second, it seems he can’t leave. Once you check into the proverbial roach motel there’s no checking out.
And Lockhart has checked in.
Getting out, getting the CEO and keeping his sanity is no easy task. All depends on a wisp of a girl who is the only person in the place with answers. However, the answers lead to questions as maze-like as the hotel’s interior.
A Cure for Wellness is billed as a mystery-thriller. In reality it’s more of a horror movie and is a breath of fresh air in an era of awful and anemic horror films. Ironically, a breath of fresh air is one of the things that attract the rich to the story’s posh hotel centerpiece. It’s where they go to forget, be cleansed of past sins and used for the purposes of Volmer, the film’s villain.
Pirates of the Caribbean’s Gore Verbinski directs. Though it’s a tad long and a bit slow in spots, Verbinski and his co-writer Justin Haythe have produced a thinking-person’s horror movie. It’s packed with terrific performances from Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) who shares star billing Harry Potter alum Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac: Vol. II). All three are terrific but it’s Isaacs who has the most fun as the steel-eyed, low-key, always in control bad guy.
Even more fun are the effects and the sets, and an attitude and plot that is a throwback to films of this genre produced in the 1950s and 1960s.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
Rated R for brief nudity and mature themes. A thinking person’s horror movie works big time. Give it a 4 1/2 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
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5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!