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.
A Cure for Wellness is a psychological horror thriller film directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Justin Haythe. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth, and follows a young American executive who is sent to a mysterious rehabilitation center in the Swiss Alps. The film was released on February 17, 2017, by 20th Century Fox. The film was a box office bomb, grossing $19.9 million under a $40 million budget.
The film premiered on December 10, 2016, at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and was theatrically released in the United States on February 17, 2017, by 20th Century Fox, after initially being slated for September 23, 2016. The New York Times reported that 20th Century Fox created a group of fake news sites as part of a viral marketing campaign for A Cure for Wellness.
About the Story
At a large financial services firm in New York City, a man named Morris is working late when he suffers a massive heart attack and drops dead. With Morris now deceased, Lockhart, an ambitious young executive, takes his place and is sent to retrieve the company’s CEO, Roland Pembroke, from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps.
This retrieval is prompted once Board members receive a troubling letter from a seemingly demented Pembroke, whom they need to sign off on the merger of their company with another. Their company is covering up some unsightly business deals, which several partners hope to pin on Pembroke upon his return. Upon arriving at the wellness center, Lockhart is met with some resistance by the staff, particularly Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs), in his attempts to speak with Pembroke. He eventually succeeds in getting through to him, but a car crash forces him to recover at the center with a broken leg.
In his time at the spa, Lockhart meets a mysterious young girl named Hannah, who, like Volmer, drinks a strange fluid kept in a cobalt bottle. Around this time another patient, Victoria Watkins, tells Lockhart that the spa is built on the ruins of a castle, once owned by a baron, that was burnt down 200 years ago. The baron desired an heir of pure blood and married his sister.
When the baron learned she was infertile he began performing hellish experiments on the peasants. Eventually the peasants rose up and burnt the castle down. On the night of the revolt they captured the baron’s pregnant sister and cut the baby from her womb. Watkins claims the baby was tossed into the aqueduct, and despite its fragile state, ultimately survived.
Lockhart investigates his suspicions and discovers the transfusion wing of the spa is a front for macabre medical experiments where eels are filtered through human bodies to produce the “cure” Volmer and Hannah are ingesting. Lockhart is captured by Volmer, who is actually the centuries-old baron, surviving off the cure, and Lockhart is subjected to nightmarish treatments that warp his mind like Pembroke. Lockhart writes a letter to his employer saying that he intends to remain at the spa, but has a moment of clarity where he realizes his leg was never actually broken. He rips off the cast and goes in search of Hannah.
A Cure for Wellness
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs, Celia Imrie, Susanne Wuest, Natalia Bobrich, Carl Lumbly, Lisa Banes, Annette Lober
Screenplay by: Justin Haythe
Production Design by: Eve Stewart
Cinematography by: Bojan Bazelli
Film Editing by: Pete Beaudreau, Lance Pereira
Costume Design by: Jenny Beavan
Set Decoration by: Mark Rosinski, Michael Standish
Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: February 17, 2017