If horror movies reflect our greatest fears, it’s only natural that “A Cure for Wellness” has Trumpian parallels.
Opening in theaters this weekend, the macabre thriller finds a villain in Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs), the deceptive despot who runs a so-called spa in the Swiss Alps. That’s where a coarse young Wall Street executive (Dane DeHaan) travels to retrieve his company’s CEO (Harry Groener), who hasn’t returned after his ostensible vacation. No one returns from this sanitarium where Volmer offers miraculous treatments ― they are lured by the great doctor’s promises.
“Some of the worst people in the world, fill in the blank, whoever you think is a terrible person ― I know who I’m thinking of at the moment ― they’re able to justify themselves completely,” Isaacs said during a Facebook Live interview with The Huffington Post on Tuesday, presumably likening Volmer to Donald Trump. “They think they’re absolutely in the right, and this guy has such self-belief that leaders of every field in the world come and lay themselves at his feet because the world is complicated and they want simple solutions. This guy’s giving them a very simple solution.”
Within the cavernous castle of a sanitarium, which sits atop a hillside as if peering down at the world, director Gore Verbinski (”Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Lone Ranger’) imagines various titans have fled reality and found themselves seduced by Volmer’s antidotes.
“I always imagined it’s a place where, if you went a little further into the steam room, you might bump into Dick Cheney wrapped in a towel in the corner somewhere,” Verbinski said. “There are oligarchs and heads of industry and Dane’s character, Lockhart. I mean, there’s a reason that these people are vulnerable to Volmer’s diagnosis. It’s almost like a form of absolution. You’re not responsible anymore because you’re not well. Who wouldn’t want a note from their doctor? That’s the opiate. That’s the lotus eaters of the place. And once you get people to buy into that, then we start to move into, ‘Well, what if the cure is worse than the disease?’ This place has its own dark secrets, and Dane’s character starts to lose his purchase on reality as he gets closer to the truth.”
Watch Isaacs, Verbinski, DeHaan and co-star Mia Goth discuss “A Cure for Wellness” in the video above. The movie is now in theaters.