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To explain this film is impossible. It needs to be seen. Is it as bad as you think it's going to be? Yes. Is it also the greatest thing I've seen this year? Also yes. It's terrible. It's wonderful. It's a haunting CGI Nightmare, but also something you can't tear your eyes off of. I want to see it 12 more times. You haven't lived until you've seen Sir Ian McKellen warming up his Meows.
What a weird, sweet, beautiful film. It speaks to this generation in a way I don't think I've seen a film do before.
I look at the negative reviews and wonder...did they see the same film I did? Or the original Dumbo for that matter? Not only was this movie great at capturing the original dark tone, but it also had a sense of wonder all it's own that made me instantly certain I would want to revisit this film again and again. If your kids have fidgets or scare easily, this might be one to save for home viewing. It is definitely not light fare.
So I just got back from The Cure for Wellness. Given the creepiness of the previews, this is a film I've been looking forward to for awhile. I'm going to put my review below a cut. While I don't like to do spoilers in my reviews, there was some very trigger worth stuff in this movie so yeah, I'll be talking about it. For those who don't want spoilers, here is my spoiler review:
Well that was some shit.
For those who want to know why, see below.
Where. Do I. Begin.
I have very few good things to say about this movie, so I'll start with those I guess. They'll be the quickest. The first third of this film is beautiful to look at. The cinematography, the scenery, the color, the costumes, everything is very well done to create some definite atmosphere. In my mind's eye, I remember everything being very blue and gray in the first part, which makes sense. That color does change as the environment changes, and we start getting a lot more greens as "sickness" grows. Also good. The artistic direction of this film was beautiful and I just wish it had been spent on a worthier movie. One shot in particular stuck with me. It was a wide shot of a girl standing beside a stone pool of water. Behind her, the beautiful Swiss alps. In front of her, the still, perfectly round pool, reflecting them like a mirror. She asks "Why would anyone want to leave here?" and I have to admit, looking at that shot, she has a point. But, sadly, this is kind of the end of the good things I have to say about this film.
The easiest thing to pick on is the CGI. I'm not sure if they blew their budget on set building and location or what, but this was some of the most laughable CGI I've ever seen in my entire life. There's a scene with a deer and I never believed for even half a second that a real animal was even remotely involved in that scene. The color was off, the fur was cartoony, the movement was unrealistic, it was painful. Later in the film there's a sort of reveal that also required CGI when practical effects would have been SO MUCH better. And yeah, it looks cartoony then too. I had to hold back a laugh, which is not the reaction you want your audience to have when you've made an atmosphere heavy horror film.
Tone is also kind of a problem. It's all over the place. I don't even know what to classify it as. There were times when I was like "oh they're doing a shutter island kind of thing, like is he really insane." But no...they abandon that almost as soon as the idea came into my head. Then there's a scene in town which...I don't even know what the point of it was. If it was removed from the film it would have changed nothing, and it was long, too.
Now let's talk about the gore. This was one of the most difficult films I've had to watch since 8mm. We're about to enter spoiler territory folks so this is your last chance to get out. On a whole, there isn't a lot of gore. But what gore there is sticks with you. There is a scene where a cow's gut is slit open spilling the contents, including an unborn calf. I suppose the reason is thematic, as it does mirror something that happened in the exposition, but it was unnecessary in my opinion. There are other little things. The cutting off of a leg cast with a jagged piece of glass, that sort of thing. But the one I'm probably going to see every time I close my eyes for awhile, involved a tooth. Ladies and gentleman. There is a full 2 minute scene of a dentist drilling right through the center of an incisor and ripping it out of someone's head. No creative editing. It shows you. I'm never going to be able to stop seeing that, and I did not sign up for that.
Now let's talk about the story. I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty because there is just a fuck tone of convoluted shit to deal with. I'll just talk about the big conclusion. Maybe it felt worse to me because some Parents of the Year had dragged their 13 year old daughter to this film, and didn't immediately leave after the masturbation scene in the first 30 minutes. The finale of this film involves a man who forced his sister to marry him, raped her repeatedly until she could bear him a daughter, but was then killed. He then raised the daughter and then, literally the moment she has her first period, has a faux wedding with her and proceeds to tie her to a bed and prepare to rape her. He smells his fingers, ladies and gents. He smells his fingers.
The film ends on a strangely ambiguous note, because that's what we needed after all that. We get a final shot of our protagonist with the strangest expression on his face, as if we're supposed to ask ourselves "was he really mad the whole time did any of that happen" and I am just sitting here going are you FUCKING kidding me?
I was so damn excited for this film. I couldn't wait to see it. And now I'm out $12 and I've got tooth drilling behind my eyes for the rest of my life. If I could, I'd sue the filmmakers. I don't even know how to wrap up this review, normally I'd do some final thoughts, but I got nothing. Don't go see this film. Or...if you must...leave after about the first 40 minutes cause those are the only good parts.