“I’m a bit nervous,” Mia Goth shyly admitted when I asked how she was at the start of our interview earlier this week. “I’ve never really done anything like this before,” she said of the press junket for A Cure For Wellness, set up in the downstairs of a lower Manhattan hotel. Goth made her film debut in 2014 as Charlotte Gainsbourg’s protege/lover P in Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac Vol. II. Since then she’s had roles in Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest and the BAFTA nominated The Survivalist, and last fall her Elvis-themed wedding to husband Shia LaBeouf was live-streamed for the whole world to see (albeit supposedly on accident). But the new Gore Verbinski horror thriller is her biggest movie to date.
There are few films that scare me as much as The Ring remake scared me the first time I saw it, and the second, and the third. Director Gore Verbinski has knack for crafting menacing atmospheres with stylish visuals, and after The Ring I was afraid to look at TV screens and was disturbed by the mere appearance of Brian Cox in a movie (and once when I saw him in real life). Verbinski brings a similar palette of ominous visuals and eerie tones to A Cure for Wellness, his latest about a spa for the uber-wealthy. The psychological horror thriller isn’t as sharp or as terrifying as The Ring, but its one of the nuttiest and most original horror movies a major studio has produced in years.
2016 was a hell of a year for horror, from the high-literary chills of I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House to ‘cult classic’ The Invitation to rigorously designed colonial freakout The Witch to the stripped-down nightmare of Don’t Breathe. 2017’s already looking like it’ll be able to give this year’s chills a run for their money, though; the advance reviews for M. Night Shyamalan’s multiple-personality abduction thriller Split have been improbably positive, the trailer for Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out looks absolutely bonkers, and Gore Verbinski has given February a shot in the arm (pun extremely, shamelessly intended) with his upcoming psych ward-set feature A Cure for Wellness.
So far, A Cure For Wellness seems to be fulfilling the promise of Gore Verbinski’s return to the horror genre, and by that I mean it looks totally bonkers. And according to early reactions out of last weekend’s BNAT film festival in Austin, “bonkers” might be an understatement. Between those reactions and this wacky new international trailer, Verbinski’s latest is quickly becoming one of my most anticipated films of 2017.
Unless you keep a close eye on the Austin, Texas film scene, you might not have known that audiences were treated to a special advance screening of Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness this weekend as part of the annual Butt-Numb-A-Thon. This yearly film marathon — hosted each year by Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles — often features an enticing mixture of classic genre movies and upcoming releases, and this year, both Verbinski and lead actor Dane DeHaan showed up for a special advance screening of their 2017 release. And if Twitter is to believed, it’s extremely disturbing and absolutely insane. Sounds perfect.