Posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
With the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, director Gore Verbinski proved himself so adept at orchestrating globally popular blockbusters that it often looked like the world of big budget franchise filmmaking had swallowed him whole. While I’ve mostly enjoyed his excursions into the world of big budgets and movie stars (I even have a soft spot for The Lone Ranger!), I could never shake the gut feeling that 2002’s The Ring was his best movie and that his instincts as a filmmaker made him a perfect match for horror in general.
Lo and behold, here’s the trailer for A Cure For Wellness, which finds Verbinski returning to the genre that helped solidify his career. And it certainly has my attention.
This preview (which follows a few creepy promo videos) is light on plot and character but heavy on moody atmosphere and strange visuals. Despite hitting a few of modern movie marketing’s most tired tropes (a slowed down version of a popular song! The use of the word “visionary” to describe a director!), this is an effective and incredibly creepy tease. Verbinski is a meticulous filmmaker with a strong eye for crafting images that are simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. At the very least, A Cure For Wellness looks like it will be visually fascinating…and as some of the best Italian genre filmmakers of the ’70s has have shown us, that is sometimes all you need for a truly memorable horror movie.
In any case, it’s fun to let Verbinski finally letting his freak flag fly again after smuggling all kinds of weirdness into more mainstream movies, like his Oscar-winning (and truly odd) animated film Rango.
If you do want to know what this movie is actually about, the official synopsis helps fill in the details:
An ambitious young executive 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.
Dane DeHaan (a good actor who has been dealt a few bad hands recently) stars as that ambitious young executive. The supporting cast includes Mia Goth, who gave a memorable performance in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, and Jason Isaacs, the kind of wonderful supporting player whose presence tends to make every movie he’s in a little better.
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