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
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.