Dane DeHaan is sure to drink lots of natural mineral water in A Cure for Wellness. – Regency Enterprises

Reel Reviews: Film offers cure for horror genre tedium

Taylor and Howe say: “A Cure for Wellness celebrates original horror.”

An ambitious young executive (Dane DeHaan) is sent to the Swiss Alps to collect the company’s CEO, who has taken up residency at a mysterious health spa. When an accident forces the young man to stay at the spa, he discovers the dark reasons no one wants to leave.

We say, “A Cure for Wellness celebrates original horror.”

TAYLOR: I reckon some folks might find this film a bit slow and boring. It was a bit slow, but not boring. It was a bit long too, but not in a way that bothered me. Modern horror films are often too quick anyway. A Cure for Wellness takes its time and shows us creepy imagery, beautifully captured, decently acted and excellently scored.

It is a dark, deep, rich tale that could have taken place 200 years in the past or future.

HOWE: I thought it was an excellent film. I agree maybe a little slow, but that worked in its favour by building the tension and coupled with the eerie soundtrack it gave a feeling of foreboding.

It gave me a similar feeling as Shutter Island, a couple of years ago. By that I mean you just don’t know what is really going on. The film itself makes you feel as if you are going crazy along with its patients or are you sane and the spa doctors really are conducting experiments? It’s very well done.

TAYLOR: It was maybe the most interesting cinematography I’ve seen in the last few years. Combine that with great locations and the film would have been scary with cardboard cutouts for actors.

The story is only silly in its science, where biology meets the supernatural, but I thought the plot and spa character backstories were properly disturbing. Without giving too much away, the spa has accidentally discovered a sort of immortality and is doing crazy things with that power. How they harness it is silly and horrifying. So forget about reality and allow yourself to be horrified.

HOWE: The acting is great and we have touched on DeHaan being a fine actor. I don’t think it will be long for him to be in some role that he can really sink his teeth into. But what I really liked was the creepy staff at the spa, the nurses always smiling and the orderlies always stoic.

The movie itself leaves it open at the end to ask many questions: What was real? Was it his imagination? Were the doctors performing experiments? How much is the weekly rate to stay there? All I can say is if you want something a little different, a little peculiar, you can’t go much wrong with this one.

TAYLOR: It is possible that there are too many facets to this story. There are certainly unanswered questions built into the film. We, like our poor young executive, sometimes lose track of time and/or reality. At the end, the audience and the executive are all smiles, but are those smiles real? How much of this story happened? If you’re after answers see something else. If you want to see a beautiful, creepy horror film, A Cure for Wellness will fix you up, maybe forever.

Taylor gives A Cure for Wellness4 missing teeth out of 5.

Howe gives it 4 vitamin drops out of 5.

– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.

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