Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Film Review: "A Cure For Wellness" (2017).

"Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that's the only way one could hope for a cure."
This is A Cure For Wellness. This psychological horror thriller film directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Justin Haythe. The film follows an ambitious young executive who is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure.

In October 2014, it was announced that Gore Verbinski would direct the film, with a script by Justin Haythe, for New Regency Pictures. By early June 2015, Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs were cast for the film. Principal photography for the film began in late June, lasting 5 months. Interior shooting took place at Beelitz-Heilst├Ątten, a huge abandoned hospital complex and mainly at Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam. The building itself and the area around it have been completely renovated after being a ruin for decades. 750 windows (1,000 sq m of glass), 350 doors, 1,200 sq m of walls and many other things had to be replaced or repaired to restore the original look of the building. Exterior shooting  took place at Castle Hohenzollern in the German municipality of Bisingen. The castle was closed to the public for filming from July 13 to July 24, 2015. Aside from Hohenzollern, parts of the film were also shot in Saxony-Anhalt and Zella-Mehlis, Germany. The scenes in the grotto were planned to be shot in Vienna but the shooting was canceled shortly before the start. The film studio in Babelsberg therefore had to build an entire grotto of 2000 sq m on their own. The film received funds of €8.1 million, from the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), as well as €500,000 from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. 

The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth. DeHaan gave a fine performance despite portraying a completely unlikable character. Isaacs and Goth both gave eerie and unsettling performance as two characters who are not what they seem beneath the surface.

There are those times that you can enjoy horror movies because they're just fun despite being bad. A Cure For Wellness is not Gore Verbinski's best film, but it's far from his worst. It's eerie and unsettling, but it's also fun. However, it is a particularly uneven piece of work; yet, Verbinki’s eye is consistently impressive, creating swathes of Gothic imagery, sterling use of light and muted colour palette in his framing, and a great location in the form of the wellness center. Making this another rich visual experience with that distinctly European feel. While it certainly isn’t anywhere near the upper echelons of his filmography, it offers enough in the way of style and the gleefully macabre to keep it afloat.

Simon says A Cure For Wellness receives:

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