The Cured (2017)
For years, the Maze Virus spread across the world, turning people into zombies. Most of the world was able to contain the virus, but Ireland was hit particularly hard. Eventually, a cure was found, but it only cured 75 percent of those infected. There was just one problem; the cured remember what they did while they were zombies.
While the government debates on what to do with those remaining 25 percent, the cured are returning to their homes and families.
We open up with a shot of someone breathing very heavily, with a close-up shot of a tennis shoe with blood dripping on it. We next see a close-up of bloody and battered hands. A drooling mouth, then we see Senan (Sam Keeley) who is apparently a zombie, and we briefly see Senan attack someone.
We cut to a cured Senan looking at his eyes into the mirror, checking to make sure that he isn’t showing any signs of being a zombie. We cut to Senan sitting upon the bathroom floor, and it’s obvious that something is bothering Senan. We hear the door open and in walks Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), another cured, who sits down next to Senan. They talk about what it’s going to be like going back home. Even though Conor says it’s going to be ok, it’s very evident that they are both worried about what reception they will get.
A military man who goes by the name Cantor (Stuart Graham) is interviewing Senan, asking how long Senan was a zombie. It’s apparent that the Cantor does not like the cured. Cantor tells Senan that it’s good that he is having nightmares because it reminds Senan what horrible things he did as a zombie. The Cantor lays down the law to Senan, telling him that if he does everything he is told to do, his life will be “better.” Senan finds out that his sister-in-law has agreed to take him in.
We see that Senan is about to board a bus along with a bunch of other cured people, filing past UN soldiers. Everyone on the bus looks worried and pensive as they drive by the tents of the UN soldiers. As they ride down the road, we hear talk radio discuss whether the cured should come back to their old neighborhoods. It’s very evident that it’s a divided country, and passions are high. People have lost loved ones to zombies and don’t want the people that killed them living among them.
They arrive at their destination, and the bus is immediately attacked by objects, as protesters shout obscenities. They get out as the UN soldiers hold the crowd back. Among the chaos, Connor and Senan say their good-byes. It is evident that they care for each other and need each other’s support. As Connor hugs Senan, he tells Senan “Don’t tell her.” They promise to look out for each other, and then they go their separate ways. What is going to happen to Senan and Connor in this world that has changed so much since they were turned into zombies?
Writer/director David Freyne has brought us a remarkable twist on the zombie genre. The Cured makeup is more psychological than horror (though there are still some horrifying zombies in the film). Filled with mounting tension, the film keeps us guessing on what the outcome is going to be. It explores a number of themes, including racism, genocide, forgiveness, and atonement. The film also explores the reasons for why someone would join a terrorist organization as some of the cured join forces to fight anti-cured grassroots organizations, with a big salute to the old IRA days. Freyne handles the action sequences with aplomb and are exciting and terrifying, with most of the sequences shown in flashback.
There are some spectacular performances in this film, including Ellen Page, who plays Abby, who is still getting over the loss her husband in the initial zombie attack and Sam Keeley, who plays Senan, her brother-in-law and is going to live with Abby and her young son. Page is brilliant as the grieving widow, the pain of her loss showing not only in her face but her body language. Sam Keeley goes through a number of emotions as Senan, a man who is racked with guilt about what he did as a zombie. All Senan wants to do is have things return to normal, but that seems to be an impossible dream. Keeley and Page work well together on the screen, but it’s the relationship between Connor and Senan that dominates the film. Connor is the leader of the two, as Senan depends on Connor to help him deal with the current reality.
The Cured is a taut psychological thriller that surprises you at every turn and puts the zombie genre in a whole new light. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
The film is playing exclusively at Landmark Midtown Art
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