A Cure for Wellness

Posted on February 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Preschool
MPAA Rating: Rate R for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language
Profanity: Very strong and crude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Intense, graphic, and extensive peril and violence with many disturbing and graphic images, sexual assault, torture
Copyright 2016 Twentieth Century Fox

There’s jump out at you scary. And there’s something’s coming at me scary. And then there’s the slow, inexorable dread that builds inside you, and that is what director/co-writer Gore Verbinski is going for with “A Cure for Wellness.”

The unsettling through-the-looking-glass idea starts with the title itself. Isn’t wellness what a cure is supposed to achieve? Would a cure for wellness mean making a healthy person sick? Uh…yes. Prepare to feel your stomach drop like a bowling ball.

The best part of the movie is in exploring the world Verbinski creates, with production designer Eve Stewart, a health sanitarium where time seems to have stopped a century ago. A brief opening section establishes that it takes place now. An ambitious Wall Street trader named Lockhart (fast-rising star Dane DeHaan) has done something improper, and the bosses at his firm tell him that if he does not want to go to jail he has to retrieve Mr. Pembroke, the firm’s CEO, from a remote sanitarium so he can sign off on a big deal. Lockhart, confident of his ability to get deals done, and determined to stay out of trouble, takes the long, long drive up to the top of a mountain, to a facility somewhere between the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining,” the tuberculosis sanitorium in The Magic Mountain, and the Grand Budapest Hotel.

He briskly asks to see Pembroke and is informed that visiting hours are over. He does not pay enough attention to notice that things seem a bit…off. And when he is offered a glass of water, he does not hesitate to drink it. This, needless to say, is a mistake. He thinks he can leave and come back to see Pembroke later. This, also needless to say, is also a mistake.

Lockhart tries to find out what is going on. One might say that this is a mistake, too.

He starts to leave, but the car hits a deer and he wakes up in a hospital bed, his leg in a cast. Everyone is pleasant and rather vague, both staff and guests. But everything gets creepier and creepier, and it’s all atmosphere anyway. Don’t try to think about the story too much because it does not make a ton of sense and basically boils down to: creepy scene here, creepy scene there, REALLY creepy scene downstairs, excruciatingly creepy scene in the dentist’s chair, a not very surprising reveal.

Parents should know that this is a horror movie with extremely graphic and disturbing material and with many grisly and upsetting images including dead bodies, snakes, torture, sexual references and situations, nudity, sexual assault, incest, and very strong language.

Family discussion: What does Lockhart’s name tell us about the character? What does Hannah learn from him?

If you like this, try; “The Shining” and “Suspira”

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Coming to Theaters: February 2017

Posted on February 1, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Happy February! The movies this month start off slowly because the first weekend is the Super Bowl, but we have some very promising films coming to theaters after that, including three high-profile sequels on February 10 and two films from rising star Dane DeHaan. Some I am especially looking forward to:

“The Comedian” Robert De Niro plays a stand-up comic struggling with personal and professional challenges.

“The Space Between Us” Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson star in a love story about an ordinary teenager and the boy she loves, who was born to an astronaut mother and has just come to earth for the first time.


“The LEGO Batman Movie” The folks from “The LEGO Movie” are back with a spin-off and I full expect that everything in it will be awesome!

“Fifty Shades Darker” The saga of the B&D power couple continues.

“John Wick 2” Keanu Reeves returns as the hired killer who can’t stay retired.


“Fist Fight” Charlie Day plays a teacher who is not at all prepared to stand up to Ice Cube, who has promised to beat him up.

“The Great Wall” This grand historical fantasy epic has Matt Damon leading an army of mercenaries in ancient China.

“A Cure For Wellness” An ambitious young executive (Dane DeHaan) is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.

“A United Kingdom” David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star in the true story of an African prince who married a commoner from London in the 1940’s, creating family and geopolitical controversy.

“Tulip Fever” An artist falls for a young married woman (Alicia Vikander) while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam. The cast includes Christoph Waltz, Zach Galifianakis, Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan. (Note: Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan also co-star in the upcoming fantasy “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”)

“Get Out” Audiences at Sundance loved this terrifying new horror film written by Jordan Peele.

“Rock Dog” All-star voice talent including Luke Wilson, JK Simmons, Lewis Black, Matt Dillon, and Kenan Thompson are featured in this second animated story in three months about singing animals.

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