Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Issacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie (Rated M – 146 min).
Absolutely not recommended if one has ever been thinking of visiting a weekend health retreat or seeking time out within a wellness spa. Forget about seeing this mysterious thriller of a young hot-shot executive from a high-end financial firm looking for his missing colleague supposedly relaxing at a remote luxury resort in Switzerland.
Situated in a castle, the long and winding road leading around the Swiss Alps signifies the solitude for Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) as he gazes through the window wondering what’s going on with his superior.
More of an institution where at first, the staff seem too polite and smiling – a veneer hiding reality where nothing is what it seems. Thinking he is just there on a retrieval mission, Lockhart is led into deception at first through grim situations and tactical role reversal bordering on menace.
The health-centric clinic is anything but as first impressions that nobody wants to leave, is actually because they cannot. Be warned of morbid medical gothic horror style, the twisted plot secrets may cause walkouts or at the very least wincing at the potent visuals.
Aspects of Shutter Island (2010) or One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) came to mind, with added Clockwork Orange (1971) – grotesque situations building up levels of tension.
Dane Dehaan is a terrific actor holding up in multiple awkward scenes of chronic behaviour and Jason Issacs (Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series) is creepy and not to be trusted. Appropriately named actress Mia Goth as Hannah, finds a kindred spirit in Lockhart, one of his few allies, or is she?
The cold grey complex is sterile, the acting is not. Expect the unexpected throughout, scare tactics during the third act turn into the most daring, outrageous, absurd 30 minutes experienced at the cinema for some time, I needed a drink. Revealing anything else would only ruin it for the dedicated.
Shane A. Bassett