A Cure for Wellness

Seldom does a film anything like this come along that captures the structure and atmosphere of an eerie gothic pre-code horror movie in a similar vein to Michael Curtiz’s Mystery of the Wax Museum or Fritz Lang’s Mabuse films where a health spa in Switzerland doubles for a debauched castle of terror! Dane DeHaan is Lockhart, an up-and-coming financial whiz sent by his New York-based company to retrieve, even if by force, an essential CEO who has secluded himself in a “wellness center” for the decrepit rich after their careers have sucked the life out of them! Director Gore Verbinski’s creep-fest is occupied by eel-filled baths and disturbed incestuous relationships that recall Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, amongst the dungeon labs of the maddest of scientists! AND THEN, things really start to go bonkers when a mysterious girl named Hannah (an actress with the appropriate name Mia Goth) shows up telling Dane that “no one ever leaves here!” As the elderly have what little life they have drained out of them in the pursuit of “wellness,” I felt lost in the Lovecraftian vault of radio drama, as if Tod Slaughter had it in for me with needles, elixirs and strange hydroelectric tubing! This thing is like a 1930s art-house thriller mixed with the threat of primordial inseminoids! One of a kind!