HEALTHY SENSE OF FEAR

If you love the rush of a clas­sic psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, pre­pare to hang off the edge of your seat for Gore Verbin­ski’s lat­est pulse-raiser

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - SALLY COATES

ACure for Well­ness fol­lows up-and­com­ing Wall Street ex­ec­u­tive, Lock­hart (Dane DeHaan). Lock­hart is sent by his firm to re­trieve the com­pany’s CEO from the Alpine Med­i­cal Spa where he is sup­pos­edly re­cu­per­at­ing from a mys­te­ri­ous ill­ness.

Ar­riv­ing at the re­mote, os­ten­si­bly idyl­lic re­treat, he soon finds he is trapped and noth­ing is as it seems.

“It seems that no one leaves this spa and there is a re­ally evil, dark side to it,” DeHaan says.

“I am on this huge ad­ven­ture nav­i­gat­ing the spa and all of its treat­ments and I am try­ing to get this guy (the CEO) home.

“At the same time, he’s try­ing not to suc­cumb to the treat­ments, which are not what they ap­pear to be when you are first in­tro­duced to them.”

From this de­scrip­tion, the mind runs wild imag­in­ing the pos­si­ble hor­rors in store, but no mat­ter how strong a sto­ry­line and its di­rec­tion, the lead ac­tors of­ten make or break a film of this genre.

“Lock­hart is a com­pli­cated char­ac­ter who is in ev­ery frame of the movie, so I knew that it would be a huge chal­lenge,” DeHaan says.

“I try to re­ally ‘go there’ and in this film that means be­liev­ing Lock­hart and re­ally do­ing it. I’m not very good at pre­tend­ing, but I can fool my­self into be­liev­ing some­thing is hap­pen­ing that is not. I have never made a movie in this genre, so that was ex­cit­ing too.”

DeHaan says, de­spite not be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in the genre, he was en­ticed by the thought of re­vis­it­ing the clas­sic psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, the kind of movie that quick­ens your heart­beat.

“It was ex­cit­ing be­cause Gore (Verbin­ski), the di­rec­tor, was ap­proach­ing the film in such an am­bi­tious way, in that he wanted to make a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller harken­ing back to films like The Shin­ing and Rose­mary’s Baby, when this genre used to be re­ally ex­cel­lent,” he says.

“We wanted to make the kind of scary movie that re­flects the great psy­cho­log­i­cal thrillers of the 70s but also doesn’t shy away from the fact that it is a mod­ern-day movie.”

If the name Gore Verbin­ski sounds fa­mil­iar, it’s be­cause he also di­rected one of the most iconic films in cin­e­matic his­tory, The Ring.

So it’s no sur­prise DeHaan be­lieves A Cure for Well­ness is suit­ably on track to scare au­di­ences in a way that will stick with them, even when they exit theatres.

“I guess it’s just the adren­a­line rush of it all,” he says.

“It’s al­most like a huge roller­coaster, but it’s also ask­ing a lot of im­por­tant ques­tions. At times in a film like this, you are re­ally feel­ing ter­ri­fied.

“A Cure for Well­ness is a thrilling, wild, beau­ti­ful, ter­ri­fy­ing ride. It is a truly unique orig­i­nal film.”

Per­haps one of the rea­sons the film is an­tic­i­pated to strike a ter­ri­fy­ing chord is the re­al­is­tic themes it ex­plores – the no­tion that ev­ery­one seems to be on the search for well­ness.

“I think the movie says a lot about well­ness and it is ac­tu­ally a com­ment on well­ness,” Dehaan says.

“Why do peo­ple seek well­ness?

“What are peo­ple so un­happy about, and why do they feel so un­well that they feel the need to go and treat them­selves to a week of re­lax­ation?

“What do they think they are go­ing to cure them­selves from?

“I think those are all ques­tions the movie asks but not re­ally ones that I can an­swer.”

A Cure for Well­ness may pose these ques­tions, but not nec­es­sar­ily an­swer them.

DeHaan says it will force au­di­ences to ques­tion so­ci­ety’s cur­rent meth­ods of “fix­ing” is­sues.

“How many peo­ple do you hear say­ing things like ‘Oh, I just need to es­cape for a week and then I’ll be OK’?” he says.

“Well, why do you think that you need to es­cape?

“What do you think is go­ing to hap­pen in that week that is go­ing to cure you of all your anx­i­eties and prob­lems?

“I think that is why fad di­ets ex­ist and dif­fer­ent spa treat­ments that prom­ise to make peo­ple bet­ter or cure them.

“It is prob­a­bly all con­nected to deeply rooted psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems, some­thing deeper than a quick fix.” A Cure for Well­ness opens to­day at select Gold Coast cin­e­mas.

Dane DeHaan draws in­spi­ra­tion from the clas­sic thriller for­mat for his role in A Cure for Well­ness.

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