Name: A Cure for Wellness
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Rating: (6.5 / 10)
Length: 2h 26min
Release Date: 17 February 2017 (USA)
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.
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At a large financial services firm in New York City, a man named McMorris is working late when he suffers a fatal heart attack. Lockhart, an ambitious young executive, takes his place and is sent by the company board members to retrieve the company’s CEO, Roland Pembroke, from an idyllic, but mysterious, “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. This retrieval is prompted by a troubling letter from a seemingly much changed Pembroke, whom they need to sign off on an imminent company merger. There is also an ongoing investigation into criminal business deals, which several partners hope to pin on Pembroke upon his return. Arriving at the spa, Lockhart is met with some resistance by the staff, particularly Dr. Heinreich Volmer, in his attempts to speak with Pembroke. He eventually succeeds in getting through to him, but not before a car crash forces him to recover at the center with a broken leg.
In his time at the spa, Lockhart meets a mysterious young girl named Hannah, who, like Volmer, drinks a strange fluid kept in a cobalt bottle.
A patient named Victoria Watkins, as well as residents of the nearby town, tell Lockhart the story of the spa that was built on the ruins of a castle, once owned by a baron 200 years ago. The baron desired an heir of pure blood and married his sister. When the baron learned she was infertile he began performing hellish experiments on the peasants in order to find a way to cure his wife’s infertility. He succeeded, but after finding the bodies of his victims, the peasants rose up and burned the castle down. The baron’s pregnant sister was captured by the peasants. The baby was then cut from her womb before she was burned. Although they tossed the baby into the local aquifer, it somehow survived.
Lockhart begins writing a letter to his employer saying that he intends to remain at the spa, but has a moment of clarity and realizes that his leg was never actually broken. He rips off the cast and goes in search of Hannah.
Lockhart investigates his suspicions and discovers the transfusion wing of the spa is a front for macabre medical experiments. Eels, whose lives can be vastly extended by the properties in the aquifer’s water that is toxic to humans, are used. The doctor filters the eels through the bodies of patients at the retreat, to produce the “cure”, which Volmer, Hannah and others are ingesting. Lockhart is captured by Volmer, who is actually the centuries-old baron, surviving off the cure, and Lockhart is subjected to nightmarish treatments that warp his mind like Pembroke, but Hannah sees that he’s been changed, and gives him back the ballerina his mother gave him, which breaks him out of his fugue state.
Around this time, Hannah has her first menstrual cycle and Volmer celebrates with an elaborate ball. He leads Hannah to a secret room, built in the ruins of the castle, and prepares to rape her. Lockhart confronts Volmer and realizes that Hannah is his daughter. During the ensuing fight, Volmer’s face is revealed to be a mask that hides hideous burns. Lockhart sets Volmer and the castle on fire, but is overpowered. Hannah saves him by killing Volmer, forcibly fusing a shovel with his head. He then falls into a pool and is eaten by his carnivorous eels.
Lockhart and Hannah escape from the spa on a bicycle as fire engulfs the structure. On the road, Lockhart crashes into a car carrying his employers, who have arrived from New York to retrieve him and Pembroke. Lockhart is ordered into the car by the employers, who hope he will return to New York with them. Suspecting they plan to pin all corporate wrongdoings on him, he instead chooses to ride away with Hannah, on a bike, whilst grinning insanely.