Gore Verbinski hasn't made a film since The Lone Ranger in 2013. Despite that movie's critical and financial shortcomings, it maintained the distinct style of its director, who developed a reputation for certain whimsical visual flourishes with the 1997 Nathan Lane film Mousehunt, and then, later with his 2002 adaptation of the Japanese horror film The Ring. That film demonstrated Verbinksi's knack for bringing his stylish sensibilities to horror, turning what could have been another bland American remake of a foreign hit into a well-regarded adaptation with ideas of its own.
Since then, the director rose to fame with the enormous blockbuster that was the first three installments in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the success of which likely made the idea of his re-teaming with Johnny Depp for the aforementioned Lone Ranger seem like a goldmine waiting to happen. That wasn't the case, and while the setback put Verbinski out of the directing game for a few years, he's back with the creepy looking A Cure For Wellness, which takes the idea of balancing the body and the mind through alternative means to a truly bizarre and frightening interpretation of the word "alternative".
Set in a twisted nightmare version of something like the spa at the center of Paolo Sorrentino's Youth, Verbinski's next film blends some lush visuals with a trippy story of an ambitious young executive played by Dane DeHaan, who is tasked with retrieving his company's CEO from a mysterious wellness center located in the Swiss Alps. There, DaHaan's Lockhart encounters a doctor played by Jason Isaacs – who along with his role in Netflix's The OA is on the verge giving members of the medical community a seriously bad rap in terms of the ethical treatment of their patients.
The second trailer for the film established more of the plot, making it less like The Road to Wellville mixed with visual elements from Bioshock. Uncovering the edges of the narrative has its drawbacks, though, as the circumstances of Lockhart's experience at the wellness center and the hints of what's being done to the guests there tend to pull back the curtain on the dreamlike images that populated the teaser trailer. That sort of lucidity places the film in a curious place, as it suggests a more conventional kind of thriller than the bizarre horror the first look seemed to suggest.
Though short, this new spot delivers a more distinctly creepy vibe than its longer, more story-based predecessor. For one thing, the spot delivers a better look at what Lockhart endures during his time at the Swiss spa. And while it was already pretty well established that he got anything but some much-needed rest, it looks like he's poised to undergo some painful procedures as well.
Source: 20th Century Fox
- A Cure for Wellness (2017) release date: Feb 17, 2017