No doubt you’ve heard a lot about the new movie “Split” with James McAvoy and how scary it is, and that is indeed an excellent film. But what about the OTHER great horror film out right now, “A Cure For Wellness”? The title is so strange and the marketing is so inept that I had no idea that it was even a horror film. But it is, and despite a plethora of Stupid Horror Film Decisions made by the protagonist, it is one of the best of the last few years.
The film follows a New York stockbroker (played by Dane DaHaan) who is sent by a top corporation to find out what happened to an executive who is at a wellness center in the Swiss Alps. This place is so secluded and so ornate that it seems weirdly inviting, but there are many problems with it, the most significant being that once you are there, you can never leave. Other problems include: 1. Dentistry that makes “Marathon Man” look progressive. 2. Septic tank therapy (remember “Altered States”?) 3. Eels everywhere, including the bathtub… Basically, this 146-minute film by Gore Verbinski (“The Ring,” “The Lone Ranger,” the first 3 “Pirates” films) is a cross between “The Wicker Man,” “Shutter Island,” “The Shining,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “Crimson Peak,” and Stuart Gordon’s “Castle Freak.” Don’t leave early or you’ll miss an ending that might make Clive Barker and the late Ken Russell blush.
Jason Isaacs is serviceable as the villain, but Mia Goth (from “The Nymphomaniac Vol. 1”) steals the show as the fragile and frail but emotional and extremely sexy damsel in distress. Like last year’s “The Witch,” this film takes standard horror tropes in exciting new directions. Don’t miss it if you like intense horror; this film really scared me! –A.C.