Alternate Character Interpretation: During his moment of clarity was Pembroke prepared to give himself up to save the company? Or was he planning to throw another board member under the bus?
Complete Monster: Dr. Heinrich Volmer is a seemingly-kindly doctor running a wellness center in the Alps. In truth, Volmer is a centuries-old baron who survived his own people's attempt at killing him in revenge for murdering so many of them to discover the secret to immortality. Obsessed with blood purity, Volmer raped his sister into submission until she married him. In the present, Volmer uses the center to lure in patients, who are brainwashed and subjected to macabre experiments where a certain breed of eel is inserted into them so that their fluids are filtered out and used for a drug that extends long life. The effects are inevitably fatal, and Volmer has the desiccated corpses fed to the eels after. It is revealed a young woman named Hannah is Volmer's own daughter, and when she reaches puberty physically, Volmer attempts to rape her as well after having subjected the film's hero Lockhart to brainwashing and torture when he tries to find out the truth. When Lockhart interferes, Volmer reveals his true elitist psychopathy and tries to feed Lockhart to the eels, but not before brutally drilling through one of his teeth.
Cult Classic: Though it spawned a divided response from critics and bombed at the box office, the film has been able to find its niche with fans of the horror genre, especially for those who are fans of Gothic Horror and Hammer Horror.
Ending Fatigue: Many critics, even those one the "Love It" side of the argument, felt that the film was too long for its own good. Not helping matters is that after a certain point in the film, it seems like Lockhart ends up successfully Brainwashed by the center's treatments and the film is going to end there. But at that point, there's another fifteen minutes left......
Genius Bonus: Makeup junkies will notice that the M.A.C lipstick Hannah finds is most likely the Rebel shade.
Rebel is a lot more purple than the shade in the movie. It's actually more likely to be Ruby Woo or Russian Red.
Jerkass Woobie: Lockhart starts off as an unsympathetic Jerkass, often being snide to others and having very little patience. Not to mention not spending much time with his mother and dumping her off at a retirement home for the rest of her days. But between his Dark and Troubled Past and the increasingly horrible experiments inflicted upon him by the center's staff, he winds up gaining some solid woobie points.
Idiot Plot: The entire movie can be cut short by at least half if Lockhart just informs his boss that there is something very wrong with the Institute during the bar scene. He has clear evidence at that point to prove that the institute is tricking him and Pembroke to stay against their wills. If the board gets wind of this, they could contact Interpol or at least send a lawyer with bodyguards to rescue Lockhart and Pembroke. Instead, Lockhart just ignores his boss to forcibly question Hannah and get on the bad side of the local punks in the process, making it extremely difficult for him to return to the bar in the future.
So Okay, It's Average: Appears to be the consensus: beautiful cinematography, style, and ambition, sunk down by a story that makes less sense as it goes, a runtime of 2 hours and 26 minutes, and copious amounts of squick.
Spiritual Adaptation: A secluded community of very rich people lead by a megalomaniac guru, an outsider trapped inside said community after an accident, a creepy young girl wearing a blue dress and corrupted by the villain, omnipresence of water, a life-altering substance processed from a water animal, a villain who turn to be a character from the backstory than everyone thought was dead, and great amounts of Squick and Nightmare Fuel... This project of a BioShock movie directed by Gore Verbinski actually happened, after all.
Squick: Many, many of the scenes aim to disgust the viewer. The great emphasis on water in most, if not all, of the wellness center's treatments, is only made worse once the viewer discovers said water's secrets.
The Woobie: Poor Hannah. That girl doesn't deserve the life she has at the wellness center. And she certainly doesn't deserve the fate that has been planned for her by her own father, the head of the institute.