‘A Cure for Wellness’: Fun facts about the new movie
From its haunting real-life setting to its unusual promos, Gore Verbinski’s new thriller aims to redefine a relaxing day at the spa.
After more than a decade away from the genre that catapulted his career, American director Gore Verbinski is returning to horror with the exquisitely unnerving thriller "A Cure for Wellness." Produced by Arnon Milchan, an Israeli filmmaker who most recently was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar for Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Revenant," the film promises to offer a unique take on the growing wellness industry.
"The film is a contemporary Gothic," Verbinski told Empire magazine. "It’s set in the real world, but you go back in time a bit when you visit this health spa that might not be quite on the map. It has its dark secrets and treatments that have a lot to do with water and the purification of our fluids."
Below are just a handful of facts on what's quickly shaping up to be one of 2017's most anticipated horror flicks.
Much of the movie was filmed at Germany's Castle Hohenzollern
Castle Hohenzollern is one of the few remaining fortresses in the world still privately owned. (Photo: A. Kniesel/Wikimedia
To truly capture the gothic nature of the film's setting, Verbinski arranged to shoot for 11 days at Germany's famed Castle Hohenzollern. Considering the site receives more than 300,000 visitors each year, this was likely no easy request.
Located in the foothills of the Swabian Alps, the castle is one of three fortresses on the site dating back to the 11th century. In addition to its museum of historical artifacts and Great Hall reminiscent of Hogwarts in "Harry Potter," the 140-room structure is also well-regarded as a pristine example of neo-gothic architecture.
For those who love exploring castles with a haunted past, Hohenzollern is an easy recommendation – with a ghostly "white lady" said to roam its corridors.
Why lead actor Dane DeHaan looks so familiar
Actor Dane DeHaan has appeared in such films as "Life," "Chronicle" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." (Photo: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock)
Like so many great character actors that grace both television and film, Dane DeHaan has a look you've likely spied before. Horror fans will remember seeing the 30-year-old American actor first on HBO's hit vampire series "True Blood," while science fiction enthusiasts will recall his turn as an violent teenage imbued with alien powers in "Chronicle." His breakout role, however, came with his portrayal of the villainous Green Goblin in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." The film, directed by American Marc Webb and produced by Israeli Avi Arad, proved to be an exciting acting challenge for DeHaan.
"I really just love acting and I love playing complicated people," he said in 2014. "And I think one of the interesting things about Harry is he's not just a bad person, he's a human being and in the beginning of the movie, he's a good guy. It's just life gets away from him and he turns bad and that's such an interesting journey to explore as an actor, and I certainly had a blast doing it."
Could DeHaan possibly return for any future entries in the Spider-Man franchise? No word yet on if that's a possibility, but we're keep our spidey senses on alert for both the upcoming "Venom" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming."
The director's punk rock past may have inspired that eerie Ramones cover
Before establishing himself in Hollywood with such films as "The Ring" and "The Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, director Gore Verbinski was a punk rock teenage guitarist. If you're into uncovering rare musical gems from the 1980s punk rock movement, you may yet stumble across a copy of Verbinski's previous band, "The Little Kings," hiding on record store shelves.
With this in mind, it's not necessarily surprising that Verbinski chose to cover "I Wanna Be Sedated" by punk rock group The Ramones for the movie's teaser trailer. To pull off the eerie rendition, he turned to Finnish singer-songwriter Mirel Wagner.
"She crushed it," he told Empire. "Will it appear in the movie? I don’t want to say. At this stage, I just want people to get a whiff of this movie…That 'I Wanna Be Sedated' track is about letting yourself go… losing your purchase on reality. That’s the horror of the place."
The film's guided meditation promos are based on real videos
In addition to the fantastically creepy first trailer, the marketing for "A Cure for Wellness" also includes three very unnerving guided meditation videos. Each one, with a focus on either Earth, Water, or Air, starts off as a gently relaxing experience and then devolves into something much more sinister. It's both brilliant and disturbing and hints at how "Wellness" is aiming to break new ground in the horror genre.
And yes, these videos are all playful takes on real guided meditation videos you can find online; including "Guided Meditation for Sleep," "Stress Reduction," and "Relaxing Your Mind." After watching "Wellness," we'll likely never listen to these again in the same way.
Water plays a major role
With water showing up in several scenes throughout the trailer, it's perhaps not a huge surprise that it plays a major role in the final film. In a review of screenwriter Justin Haythe's script for the film, the site ScriptShadow says that all of the "wellness" cures revolve around hydrotherapy.
"You were placed in water, water was infused in you, you were asked to drink a certain water," they share. "And so there are a ton of creepy scenes that involve the innocuous fluid."
Despite some clear influences from some classic psychological horror films, the site overall praised the film's original plot and setting.
"'Cure for Wellness' invokes movies like 'The Wicker Man,' 'The Shining' and 'Shutter Island,' but manages to be something in and of itself," they add. "Its best asset is its irony. Here we have the world’s topmost 'wellness' center, and yet as the story goes on, its clear that its patients are descending into an unrecoverable sickness."
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