In the realm of horror, films nowadays rely on shock value far too often as opposed to actually attempting to create chills that burrow into the brain. Think of the mirror reflection where there’s nothing behind someone one moment and the next, holy crap there’s the ghost or killer or whatever other monster there’s supposed to be. Same thing goes with a flickering light, a shadow, or when they’re trying to do one of those scenes where it’s shot from a first person angle.
Essentially it’s a cheap scare tactic that works to get the heart racing for all of a second, but isn’t enough to actually sustain any sort of momentum afterwards as everything returns to normal.
Fortunately, A Cure for Wellness doesn’t really rely on these tactics.
Sure, they’ve got moments that’ll make you squirm, but considering that throughout much of the movie you’re already feeling somewhat uncomfortable in the first place, they’re just minor spikes to make you feel even queasier afterwards without necessarily involving an abundance of gore.
Coupled with just a strange, but interesting premise as well, A Cure for Wellness revels in it’s weirdness with fantastic performances from Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, Jason Isaacs as Dr. Heinrich Volmer, and Mia Goth as Hannah, but also just barely misses the mark of being a great film in the fact that the pacing seems to be off throughout much of the film as often times, they’d build up to point of contention, or a point where you’d finally find out what the truth was before pulling back and letting the anti-hero of Lockhart brood and question his own sanity.
Should they have chosen to either take less time to focus on the buildup to each discovery or even just cut out some of the fat by removing some of the back and forth sequences, we actually could have had a film that was pleasantly unexpected for a horror film in February. Instead, we got something that ranges on the high end of okay to good, which fortunately, is still better than what it could have been.
A Cure for Wellness hits theaters nationwide February 17, 2017.
Main Photo: Mia Goth stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Cure for Wellness.” 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale of distribution.