Review: A Cure For Wellness (18)

BAD SPA DAY: A Cure For Wellness is out now
BAD SPA DAY: A Cure For Wellness is out now
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On general release

An unsettling and achingly stylish psychological thriller, set predominately in a spa located in the Swiss Alps, A Cure For Wellness casts an intoxicating spell with its deliberately off-kilter camerawork, hallucinogenic set pieces and discordant orchestral score composed by Benjamin Wallfisch.

It’s an impressive amalgamation of colour-bleached production design and slow-burning suspense. Alas, a sustained build-up of tension dissipates in a ludicrous final act that repeatedly chooses cheap, salacious shocks over plausibility. An excessive, self-indulgent running time certainly doesn’t help and scriptwriter Justin Haythe repeatedly falls back on horror movie cliches as punchlines to his artfully contrived weirdness.

Ambitious executive Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) gains rapid promotion when a colleague suffers a fatal heart attack. He is summoned to the boardroom where senior staff reveal CEO Roland Pembroke (Harry Groener) has disappeared to an Alpine spa at a crucial juncture in a business deal and he is instructed to bring Pembroke back to sign off a hugely profitable merger.

So Lockhart travels by train to Switzerland and heads into the mountains by car. “There’s always been bad blood between the villagers and the people on the hill,” remarks a taxi driver ominously...