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An ambitiously overindulgent horror chills streaming viewers to the bone

An ambitious horror that aimed for the stars but didn't quite manage to get there has roared into life on streaming.

A Cure for Wellness

History has shown that as good a director as Gore Verbinski may be when he’s hitting all the right notes, his penchant for overindulgence can often get the better of him. We saw it in Pirates of the Caribbean sequels Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, then again in The Lone Ranger, before it ended up sinking psychological horror A Cure for Wellness.

Co-written with Justin Haythe and inspired by Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel The Magic Mountain, there’s plenty to like about the movie in terms of pure visual style and ambition, while Dane DeHaan’s lead performance is one of the best turns of his career.

Unfortunately, stretching things out to an unnecessary 146 minutes means that any atmosphere or sense of terror becomes repetitive and over-familiar long before the conclusion, while the excessive length means plot developments are introduced and answered without nary a question being asked as to how and why it needed to be part of the narrative in the first place.

Despite a thrifty (by Verbinski’s standards) $40 million budget, A Cure for Wellness could only scrape together $26 million at the box office to flop hard. Critics and audiences were pretty much unanimous in their opinions, too, with the respective Rotten Tomatoes scores sitting at 42% and 41%.

Horror can always be leaned on to do a turn among streaming subscribers, though, especially at the weekend, with A Cure for Wellness becoming the latest beneficiary. As per FlixPatrol, it’s rising up the Prime Video ranks, even if it’s a huge commitment to make it from start to finish without falling asleep.

About the author

Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.