Heady, strange Gothic horror mystery A Cure for Wellness dispatches a thrusting young executive from the glass canyons of Wall Street to a bizarre mountaintop sanatorium in the Swiss Alps. Dane DeHaan’s Lockhart is on an urgent mission to retrieve his company’s absent CEO. Yet his boss doesn’t want to leave the clinic. Nor, it seems, do any other of its plutocratic clientele. Why are these white-robed, filthy rich patients so content with a soporific regime of badminton, Tai Chi and croquet?
Lockhart finds the questions multiplying when he ends up stranded unwillingly among them by an accident. Who is the ethereal teenage waif (Mia Goth) wafting about the place and why is she the only young person around? What is the connection between the clinic’s curious water-based wellness cure and the scandalous, reportedly incestuous baron who lived there 200 years ago? What, ultimately, is the clinic’s director, Jason Isaacs’ sinister Dr Volmer, up to?
Shiver and shudder-inducing
Director Gore Verbinski (maker of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Rango and The Lone Ranger) takes his time before Lockhart gets to solve these mysteries. Far too much time, some will feel. Yet the view from the top of this Swiss mountain really is spectacular. And although the movie is undeniably over-styled and overlong, it is also intriguing and genuinely creepy, with plenty of shiver and shudder-inducing scenes involving subterranean vaults, writhing eels and some very grisly dental surgery. Imagine a Hammer shocker set amid the Grand Budapest Hotel and you’ll have an idea what lies in store.
Certificate 18. Runtime 146 mins. Director Gore Verbinski
A Cure for Wellness available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD.