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Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that's the only way one could hope for a cure.
~ Volmer
This is what the outside world has to offer.
~ Volmer showing his true colors and his disfigured face.

Baron von Reichmerl, also known as Dr. Heinreich Volmer, was the main antagonist in the 2017 film A Cure for Wellness.

He was portrayed by Jason Isaacs, who was also the voice of Ra's Al Ghul in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Satan in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot, Admiral Zhao in Avatar: The Last Airbender, SkekSo in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, The Grand Inquisitor in Star Wars: Rebels, and Captain Hook in the 2003 Peter Pan film and Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter series

Biography

Dr. Heinreich Volmer is revealed to be Baron von Reichmerl from the Swiss Alps. In the early 1800s, the baron became obsessed with the purity of his bloodline and decided only his sister was suited to carry and give birth to a child of pure blood. She initially resisted him and he raped her. After some time, she came to accept and even enjoy her relations with her brother, although we only have Volmer's word on this. For several years, they tried to conceive but after six miscarriages, the baron realized she was infertile and suspected the reason for this was due to her body rejecting the deformed fetus. To cure her infertility, the baron discovered the water of the aquifer is toxic to humans but had unique life-restoring properties to the eels living in the water. He kidnapped several peasants who lived on his land and performed hellish experiments on them via distilling the water and filtering it through the bodies of the peasants. This process succeeded in "curing" his sister's infertility and she became pregnant, and she was able to carry the baby to term. Before birth, the baron and his sister prepared for their wedding, which was adamantly rejected by the local priests who condemned it. On the night of the wedding, the remaining peasants, realizing the baron was responsible for all the deaths and had left their bodies in fields, stormed through the castle, and captured the two to burn them alive. Before his wife was burned, the peasants cut out the baby from her womb and threw it into the aquifer, and the baron was supposedly burned alive himself. Unknown to everyone, he miraculously survived and found the baby, a girl he named Hannah and went into hiding. The baron continued to invest the "cure" he discovered, as well as his daughter. When the ruins of the castle were rebuilt a hundred years later, the baron and Hannah had aged significantly slower. He had the castle converted into a "wellness spa" that treats patients with hydrotherapy. For unknown reasons, his staff and the local police unit of the neighboring town began investing the cure as well.

In 2016, now going by "Dr. Heinreich Volmer", he is the respected but mysterious director of the wellness center, catering to wealthy patrons who become unknowing lab rats in his ongoing experiment. Lockhart arrives to bring his boss, who is a patient, back to New York to settle financial matters amid a criminal investigation. Heinreich resists letting Lockhart meet with his boss as he claims the man is "not well" enough to discuss such matters. Three days pass, during which Lockhart gets into a car accident and is kept at the sanitarium. Heinreich is eager to try certain treatments on him and Lockhart agrees to find more information on his boss. Lockhart later meets Hannah, whom Volmer refers to as a "special case". Lockhart investigates forbidden areas of the sanitarium and discovers the transfusion wing is a front for macabre for medical experiments and he is being kept prisoner there. He attempts to alert the patients and authorities of this but everyone is revealed to be in league with Volmer.

Volmer then subjects Lockhart to horrible experiments that warp his mind until he believes he is insane. During this same time, Hannah has her first menstruation and Volmer forced her to marry him. During the reception, he takes her to his secret room underneath the ruins of the castle, confessing his identity as the baron and she is his daughter by his sister, having survived the attempt to destroy her. As he tries to rape her, Lockhart arrives to save her and sets Volmer and the castle on fire. Surviving being burned, Volmer's face is revealed to be a mask that hides his hideous burns, horrifying Hannah. Volmer overpowers Lockhart and prepares to kill him before Hannah intervened and saves Lockhart by killing her father, driving a shovel through his skull. His body falls backward and is eaten by the voracious eels in the aquifer, whilst Lockhart and Hannah escape as Volmer's precious wellness center burns to the ground.

Quotes

Accept the diagnosis... You'll soon see... it's wonderful here.
~ Volmer from the film's trailer.
You're quite right, the water is toxic unless it's purified properly. That Baron's only problem was using unwilling subjects. We've come along way in the past two hundred years. Now, we have plenty of willing volunteers seeking to cure themselves from the ills of the world.

Trivia

  • The alias of "Heinreich Volmer" is an anagram for "von Reichmerl".
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