Review: A Cure for Wellness

After watching A Cure For Wellness, lot of people have picked up on how it pays tribute to a lot of early, low budget, high-camp b movies like Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor. There have been similar throwbacks to films of this genre in recent years with pieces like Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, and John Carpenter’s The Ward. One of the key facts about those movies is that they were all 90 minutes, 2 hours at a push (it or you’re Jacob’s Ladder.) The exception is the late great William Peter Blaty’s The Ninth Configuration, which gets away with its longer running time because it has slightly higher ambitions, A Cure For Wellness, is nearly 3 hours long. Now this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the worst of Gore Verbinski’s work, namely The Lone Ranger and the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. His best work, Rango, came in at 110 minutes.

This film is not terrible. I don’t hate it as much as certain critics, who compared it to a villain of a slasher film: “every time you think it’s dead it just keeps getting back up”. The film plays out in a series of increasingly gross out, body horror, gothic set pieces, and purely by dint of the law of averages some of those are repulsive and chilling. Jason Isaacs gives a stellar performance, and is clearly having an absolute ball, in the role of Volmer, the villain of the film.

I was never bored. There is a certain joy in the level of high camp the film is pitched at. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, went in one ear, out of the other but I was mildly entertained on the way. The film just needs to be shorter, it would be a far tenser as a result.

James Selway

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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