Back in 1968 George A Romero created what is now commonly accepted as a zombie in modern mythology with the classic Night of the Living Dead.
Since then the celluloid screen has been saturated with reanimated corpses ranging from 28 Days Later to The Walking Dead and everything variant in-between stretching into the Rom-Zom-Com, Warm Bodies and TV series iZombie.
Each example has tried to inject something different into zombie make-up to differing effects, and some may argue, (much like how vampires cornered every pixel to exploit the popular phase that it was going through), that zombie stories are becoming stale and decadent as a result.
So it’s heartening then to see that as the genre starts to shuffle of its mortal coil before reawakening in a brand new cycle, that we get a fresh take delivered by the creative mind of writer, director David Freyne with his feature debut, The Cured.
Conceptually it looks at the aftermath of a zombie outbreak where a cure is found for at least 25% of those that were infected, but the catch is that they can recall everything last gory detail of the time when they were consumed with the virus.
This leads to animosity from the wider population who are more than skeptical about allowing ‘The Cured’ back into society.
With this proposal set in place, we have a very different movie unfolding for the audience.
One that centres on isolation, segregation, racial hatred, and the extent humans will go to in order to establish security, and separate themselves from those less fortunate. Suddenly this movie becomes a smarter proposition.
Throw in the Irish setting, which as a country has seen its fair level or turmoil and unrest, and the acting talents of Ellen Page and then it becomes heavily grounded in its storytelling.
Told through the eyes of Senan (Sam Keeley) who is one of ‘The Cured’ returning to his hometown to live with his sister-in-law Abbie (Page) and her son. Not only does he have to struggle to fit back in, but also harbours a secret that he carries from the time that he turned.
The tension mounts as he tries to contain his guilt and the pull he has towards fellow ‘Cured’ survivor Conor in an added component to mythology has become an alpha zombie, displaying strong telepathic skills over the zombie horde and fellow survivors. He utilises these traits to plot against the current regime and tear down the walls of civilisation and the security that accompanies it. The metaphor on terrorist acts in Ireland isn’t lost here.
Only Senan knows the truth about Conor’s plans, but does he have the strength to expose them without unearthing the truth about him? Should he stick with his own kind knowing that goes against his beliefs or hold on to the last piece of humanity that he can?
It’s a bold approach and much like the film Cargo, it ventures primarily into the drama genre more so than horror, but manages to weave in the latter with great effect. Not all horror lovers will warm to the choice in storytelling, but with great direction and superb acting, The Cured does enough to offer a new slice in the zombie world to feel fresh and inviting.
- Saul Muerte