Gore Verbinski's A Cure for Wellness is a beautifully photographed nightmare that delivers powerful jolts of horror—some of them really horrific. But the movie doesn't make even basic fright-flicky sense, and the director doesn't seem to care. In the production notes, he invokes the term "dream logic" to justify the picture's endless narrative bafflements; but that's a handy out for a story that simply doesn't add up. So what's this lumbering oddity all about? I'm afraid it's about two and a half hours long.
Our protagonist is a young Wall Street hustler named Lockhart (talented but pasty Dane DeHaan, looking like Leonardo DiCaprio if Leonardo DiCaprio had been dragged behind a truck). In a long introductory passage that cries out to be trimmed, we learn that the company where Lockhart is employed is in turmoil and that its CEO, Pembroke, has lit out for a mysterious health spa in the Swiss Alps. A farewell letter he has left behind says, "I will not return. Do not attempt to contact me again." Lockhart is dispatched to find Pembroke and bring him back.
When Lockhart arrives in Switzerland, Verbinski, who still has a great eye, gives us a gorgeous shot of a gleaming train following a long curve of track into a mountain tunnel. Onboard, Lockhart notices a little boy drawing something in the condensation on a window. He's drawing the devil. How come? No reason—the devil makes no appearance in this movie. The kid's just setting a rote mood, writes Kurt Loder.