A Cure for Wellness well received by film enthusiasts but not by critics


Casey Lanza-Lang, Staff Writer

Incredibly successful cinematic director Gore Verbinski has returned with his first film since 2013. Unlike many of Gore Verbinski’s other releases, such as the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, A Cure for Wellness leans more toward the thriller and horror genres. Also different from some of his other releases, A Cure for Wellness was not received well by critics and box offices alike. I, however, beg to disagree. I thought the film was wildly entertaining, with fantastic acting and a beautiful setting.
The majority of the film is set in a sanitarium that is strategically placed in the middle of the Swiss Alps. Although filmed in Germany, the scenery is easily believed to be the true Swiss Alps. The castle and hospital that were used to film scenes within the sanitarium are absolutely beautiful and intricate and interesting, easily bringing to life the psychological terror that A Cure for Wellness sets out to place in its viewers. With architecture straight out of the gothic era and a building that resembles a castle with terraces and gables, the sanitarium fits perfectly in with the centuries old story that encompasses the film. The snowy mountainous landscapes surrounding the facility are absolutely beautiful, but they’re a constant reminder of how far away society is. The lead character, Lockhart, comes to this realization not long after he is wrongfully committed.
Originally travelling thousands of miles from New York to a remote sanitarium that his company’s CEO has taken home at, Lockhart’s only mission is to convince said CEO to come home. There’s been a mix up, an audit’s taking place, and unless Lockhart wants to take the fall for some wrong numbers, he has to find a way to get this man back to New York, pronto. With some luck, he succeeds in his mission… until he decides to drive back into town to make a phone call (for some weird reason, there’s absolutely no service whatsoever on the sanitarium’s mountain) and hits a deer on his way down, flipping the car multiple times. He wakes up three days later to find his entire leg in a huge cast and himself committed to the sanitarium.
Within just a few days of being officially admitted, Lockhart can tell something weird is going on. He feels trapped, being denied the option to call his company himself and let them know where he was. The doctors and nurses assure him that rest is more important than work and that they will let his company know where he is, unnerving him a bit. His uncomfort was enhanced with the behavior of the people around him. One day they’re happy-go-lucky, the next they’re missing, and the day after that, they’re back, completely dull and emotionless. All of the odd people around him are privileged, wealthy, and quite old as well. Except Hannah. Hannah is young, with an alluring presence, and long brown hair, bright blue eyes, and pretty blue dresses. She instantly takes an interest in Lockhart, as he does with her, but it’s obvious that the head doctor here, Dr. Heinreich Volmer, is disapproving of their blossoming friendship.
As the film continues, secrets are exposed, history is retold, and evil comes to life. Before you know it, Lockhart is in a fight for his life. No longer caring about his CEO, his main focus is finding a way to save himself and Hannah, and expose the sanitarium for the corrupt people and procedures that it harbors. Although the movie started a bit slow, it quickly begins to pick up and viewers are watching with wide, confused eyes, trying to put all of the crazy pieces together and find out what the heck is going on in this diabolical, villainous place.
Lockhart is played by the captivating Dane Dehaan. He perfects Lockhart’s dark, brooding, and mysterious aura. His facial expressions are one of the best parts of the film, showing Lockhart’s true terror, confusion, and calculating mindsets. The lovely Hannah is played by Mia Goth, a graceful actress with the perfect balance of innocence and mystery for her sheltered and intriguing character. Where the setting was perfect to create the mysteriously scary atmosphere, the cast was perfect to bring the story to life.
As a film meant to keep audiences on the edge of their seats with thoughts reeling, A Cure for Wellness was a huge success. Contrary to its non-existent box-office success and the disapproving critics, the film was quite enjoyable. It kept viewers guessing and supplied twist after crazy twist to keep everyone interested. Although a bit disturbing, it was worth the discomfort to find out what’s really happening at this hell of a sanitarium. With jump scares, psychological thrills, and a strong amount of mystery, A Cure for Wellness is a huge success, in the eyes of a film enthusiast such as myself.