Five dollar, discounted games in Steam have better storytelling than A Cure for Wellness. Way more story elements too.
Lockhart, an ambitious young executive, is dispatched by his bosses to a Swiss wellness centre to retrieve the company’s CEO, Roland Pembroke. At the centre, Lockhart encounters various resistance in his attempts to reach Pembroke, and subsequently is forced to remain at the centre after breaking his leg in a car crash. While recovering, Lockhart slowly uncovers various clues suggesting the centre is conducting macabre experiments on its patients. He soon realises everything might be linked to the dark history of the wellness centre, which was once owned by an incestuous baron said to have conducted hellish experiments on his peasants.
This is the first time I’m having difficulties with my graphic summary. As you can see, I barely have enough points to fill up the usual space.
Which summarises my take on A Cure for Wellness. That of an attempt to fill a large space with too little content. Or to put it in another way, that of a TV episode amount of story squashed into a mind-numbing 146 minutes frame.
How was this done? By dragging out every other scene, then repeating them to double the supposed impact. Arguably, this could have worked, had the questions behind these scenes been adequately addressed. But no. Answers are lavishly abandoned in favour of more questions. One minute, the protagonist is screaming from Marathon Man inspired torture. The next, he is charging into a getaway vehicle, with no mention of how he managed to flee after being strapped down with metal cuffs. Eventually, there are so many questions floating about you stop wondering. You just wish for someone to die, hero or villain, so that the movie can end.
Making it doubly disappointing is how A Cure for Wellness had quite a few things going for it. Dean DeHaan is a reasonable lead, if a little miscast. The whole sinister sanatorium backdrop is also one of those classic horror settings that terrifies without the need for any embellishment. These advantages are all wasted on a story that keeps swimming in circles like trapped fish. One other thing, for the life of me, I fail to understand those few seconds before the credits (mercifully) came on. What was that about? I was also horrified. By the frightening possibility that, OMG, the movie is not going to end!
Check out my other snappy movie reviews!