Review in Brief: A Cure for Wellness (2016/17)

A CURE FOR WELLNESS is clean and cold, calculated and stylish horror. It’s about time we had a psychological scarer about that oft-heard euphemism “Going to Switzerland”. I think it’s aiming to be a scathing critique of non-stop modern work habits and the impact this has on your health (that’s not to say it’s necessarily a good idea to check in to an archaic sanatorium on a Swiss mountainside). There’s shades of the Gothic and the folkloric, elemental underpinnings and creepy contradictions and certainly the creeping dread of films like THE WICKER MAN. It should be credited for how effectively sound and music are used to build a sense of unease as well. Most critics’ ire has been reserved for three film’s final act, and that’s fair. The final 20 minutes or so of this 140 minute horror-thriller is messy, schizophrenic and squanders the revelations that have been teased for over two hours. The world-building, the atmosphere and the increasingly icky scares (if you fear eels and/or brutal dentists then look away) are all firmly in director Gore Verbinski’s wheelhouse; if only the whole affair was tightened up and thought through fully, we might have been looking at a classic rather than a curiosity. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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