Director: David Freyne
Starring: Ellen Page, Tom Vaughn-Lawlor, Sam Keely
Review Author: Tony
There has certainly been no shortage of zombie movies since George Romero reinvented the ghoulish creature with Night of the Living Dead. The zombie has become so popular since then that the genre has become so saturated that many of us have experienced “zombie fatigue”. In order to stick out, filmmakers usually have to put some kind of spin on the creature or inject a social commentary in order to raise interest. This week I came across two zombie films, The Cured and Cargo, with both utilizing an interesting enough concept to warrant my attention. I’ve decided to review both back-to-back in order to draw comparisons as both utilize interesting tropes from the genre.
The Cured is set in the midst of the aftermath of a zombie plague. The infected have been mostly cured and are being reintegrated back into Irish Society with a lot of pushback from the public. Tensions are high as the public neither forgives or forgets what The Cured did while the Cured are plagued with flashbacks and nightmares of their actions during their infection. Senan is one of the latest cured to be returned to society along with his friend Conor. Senan is taken in by his sister in law, unbeknownst to her that he brutally killed her husband/his brother while infected. Senan is wracked by guilt as he tries to survive in a society that doesn’t want him while Conor becomes increasingly radicalized due to his poor treatment and the abuse received by other cured.
It’s a fantastic concept and harkens back to the socio-political themes of Romero’s films which always had a deeper meaning to them. The film does a great job of capturing that sense of a government trying to do the ethical thing at the behest of the citizens. A few clips early on captures the anger of individuals and their distrust for those who nearly collapsed civilization. The cured are abused and shamed wherever they go, and the streets are covered in anti-cured graffiti and fliers.
For a small film, its very well acted but this is no surprise considering the talent of Ellen Page and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Sam Keely is equally as impressive as the haunted Senan and really carries the film. The issue is that despite a killer concept and great cast, The Cured falls under its own weight due to muddled side plots and a cliche third act. For a film about zombies and near-apocalyptic events, it really starts to drag and become dull. The pace begins to move at a snail’s pace and side plots are stretched out far longer than they have any right to be.
I don’t usually complain about the budget of smaller films but the Cured really does look like it was shot on a shoestring. Most of the film is shot in north side inner city Dublin estates which aren’t exactly bursting in variety and the film looks particularly dull and gray. It’s a promising premise and the cast do a superb job, it’s just a shame that it becomes a slog due to slow pacing and an uninteresting third act.
Rating: 2.25 / 5 Pints of Coors Light