Dane DeHaan has always resembled a younger, more weaselly Leonardo DiCaprio, but even with those sleepy eyes and that sharpie’s smirk, he’s never been given the opportunity to show whether he possesses anything close to DiCaprio’s talent. A Cure for Wellness won’t change that. Narratively preposterous and probably an hour too long, it’s the year’s first big howler. It could have been DeHaan’s Shutter Island, but instead it’s just Gore Verbinski’s latest self-indulgent mess following The Lone Ranger.
DeHaan plays an ambitious financial whiz kid who’s sent to a mysterious sanatorium high in the Swiss Alps to fetch his firm’s mentally unstable CEO and bring him back to New York on the eve of a big merger. But as soon as he arrives, he notices that there’s something off about the place and its wealthy patients. No one seems to want to leave, including the man he’s there to retrieve. Then there’s the hospital’s sunny-yet-sinister head physician (Jason Isaacs, channeling Udo Kier), a weirdo teenage girl (Mia Goth) who sings and tra-la-las like she was up all night watching Rosemary’s Baby, and a host of strange medieval treatments that include curative waters, sensory- deprivation tanks, and eels — lots and lots of eels.
The only good thing to be said about this bonkers psychological chiller is that it has a cool, Corman-does-Poe gothic look. No question about it, Verbinski has a great eye. He’s just lost all of his other senses. C–