“A Cure For Wellness:” A pseudo-gothic mess

By Pavel Zlatin – 1851 Staff

“A Cure for Wellness,” a psychological thriller directed by Gore Verbinski, tells a story of a young and ambitious financial executive named Morris (Dane DeHaan). He was sent to retrieve his company’s CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener) from a paradisal retreat in the picturesque Swiss Alps, in order to complete an upcoming merger and pin some shady business on him. Later, after failing to retrieve the CEO, who was perfectly content with the current state of events, Morris was trapped in a place that initially seemed to be a peaceful wellness center, full of tired and wealthy seniors. Morris later finds out it is a Eugenics laboratory. The audience is left bored as this was not an unexpected plot turn.

The trailer promised viewers a dark, deep, and gothic horror, but delivered a senseless mess. Verbinski is credited with movies like “The Ring,” one of the classic contemporary horror films, and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. However, Verbinski simply melted every single thought he had in one big cauldron.

Verbinski makes an attempt to talk about racism, Eugenics, and people’s obsession with supplements and technology. It could have worked out in three separate movies to make a better plot. This is one of the saddest cases in modern cinematography because Verbinski is indeed a talented director.

The movie takes clichés to the extreme, and is terribly predictable. The character stereotypes are obvious, including a mentally unstable, and hardly legal-aged girl, seen barefoot and dressed in Disney-like dresses, and of course, a selfish financial executive having to care about some old CEO’s wellness.

The logic of the main character Morris makes no sense whatsoever. Not for a minute would I believe that he couldn’t tell that his leg was not actually broken, and that the retreat had an eerie vibe to it. Morris had numerous chances to escape, though he failed every single time. It’s impossible to feel sorry or sympathetic for him.

There were, however, positive moments. The scenery was simply stunning and it wouldn’t be fair to not give credit to the Swiss Alps, rather than to the film crew. The eeriness of the so-called retreat was shown perfectly. All in all, the place looked like a mid-20th century mental institution.

The film is a failed attempt to create a stylish and meaningful gothic thriller. It could have worked out if the movie was not filled with unnecessary plot turns, characters’ stupidity, and clichés.

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