Self-care is all the rage right now, and for good reason: nothing feels as good as being giving yourself permission to relax and pamper yourself. But if director Gore Verbinski has any say, his upcoming psychological thriller, A Cure For Wellness, is going to make you want to scream every time you so much as light a scented candle.
Verbinski said as much himself at a 2017 FOX showcase earlier this month, during which critics were treated to a screening of the harrowing first 35 minutes of the film. In it, Dane DeHaan plays an executive tasked with tracking down the CEO of his Manhattan financial firm (who has gone AWOL at an extravagant Swiss relaxation resort), only to get stranded there himself. Oh, and did we mention that the resort is built on the site of an old castle where a mob of angry townspeople once burned the local duke’s sister alive hundreds of years ago, and DeHaan keeps hallucinating Hannibal-esque nightmare stags while he’s there? Yeah, strap in: we’re going full-on gothic horror here.
“We wanted to take something that’s nice, you know. A terrycloth bathrobe, a steam bath–we wanted to do what Jaws did to a day at the beach for the health spa,” Verbinski said. “We want to make it never the same when you go to your masseuse.”
“There’s something ‘lotus-eaters’ about the place that nobody wants to leave, and it’s comfortable. There’s a denial there,” he added. “You have this sort of darkness. That’s the other character in this movie: inevitability.”
The small part of the movie we got to watch definitely delivered on that front; the film adds a thick, palpable suspense to what should be perfectly innocuous scenes of old rich people playing croquet and doing calisthenics. Even something as simple as DeHaan drinking a glass of water feels completely agonizing to witness, because you just know something much, much worse is coming down the pike.
If that sounds like the worst kind of nightmare, it absolutely was. “It’s a scary movie and I go through a lot, it was pretty torturous,” DeHaan told us at a press junket the next day. “I had a lot of nightmares. But that’s the movie. That’s what we were trying to do. So if iIwasn’t having nightmares, then I wouldn’t really be doing my job.”
“The movie is about wellness and health in a lot of ways, and it asks, ‘What is the sickness? What is driving us forward?’ And I think those questions are definitely more on people’s minds today than they were a year and a half ago,” DeHaan added. “There’s people that are driven by personal advancement and wealth and greed, and ultimately maybe that’s a part of all of us, and maybe that’s what we’re all fighting. Maybe you won’t be well until you can admit that, and conquer it.“
But what happens if the cure is worse than the disease, as A Cure For Wellness seems to suggest? Guess we’ll find out when the rest of the movie hits theaters next year! Until then, enjoy your health while you still can.
Are you excited for A Cure For Wellness? Let us know in the comments!
Image: 20th Century Fox, Patrick Lewis – StarPix
Like Dane DeHaan? Here’s another movie of his we’re pumped for:
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