The Cured is a film I’m probably going to need at least another viewing to fully appreciate.
On the first take, Director/Writer David Freyne has created a really unique and thoughtful entry in the zombie movie genre. Freyne asks what what could happen if those infected with a zombie virus were cured? How would they reintegrate into society if they remembered everything they did while infected? And how would society treat them knowing what they’d done?
The Cured are still treated like they’re diseased and a menace to everyone around them. That doesn’t stop people from attacking them, vandalizing their homes and otherwise provoking them. Probably not the best approach on folks that previously were munching on flesh, but they like living dangerously. The Cured has that tone of the aftermath of a 28 Days Later with the fallout from a very traumatic zombie outbreak.
It’s a fascinating premise and one Freyne explores fully. There’s two interesting perspectives at play. Senan (Sam Keeley) and Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) struggle to re-enter society. They deal with discrimination at every turn from neighbors, random passersby and their cruel military (Stuart Graham) parole officer.
Plagued by emotional turmoil as well, Senan just wants to find some semblance of a normal life with what’s left of his family. Ellen Page gives a terrific performance as Senan’s sister-in-law Abbie. Since Juno and Inception, Page has been in more background roles and it’s nice to see her tackle a meatier character with numerous layers.
Abbie isn’t simply Senan’s guide to normalcy. She is a reporter investigating the cure and the 25 percent infected who have thus far resisted the cure. And she’s making sure her son’s life is still fulfilling even with his father gone. Abbie is the kind of female character we still don’t see enough. She’s fully capable of having her own subplot that doesn’t revolve completely around the protagonist, which makes her arc much more engaging and meaningful.
Rejected by his family, Conor takes a more militant approach in his quest for cured equality. One that could prove disastrous if allowed to go unchecked. Freyne’s script really gets interesting as the events unfold and questions start to raise suggesting Conor might not be wrong with his stance.
Vaughn-Lawlor has the most challenging role as he has to slowly show Conor going further into his extremist viewpoint. He delivers a very convincing moral breakdown, but Conor’s mindset is understandable.
Freyne accounts for every potential plot hole making sure threads and connections he introduces gets addressed. That’s not always the case in this genre especially.
He takes his time in establishing the conflict almost to the point of dragging it out too long particularly in showing Senan’s remorse over his actions. Even at 95 minutes, the pacing occasionally seems too slow.
Genre fans don’t need to worry about the film being all talk with minimal zombie interactions. Freyne has you covered with the final act that delivers big time on the jump scares and fast attacking zombies. Tonally, it’s a major clash from the rest of the film, but it also had me very curious how Freyne would handle a more action-oriented zombie film.
The Cured is an easy recommendation for genre fans and for those who want a lot more brains in their zombie films.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: IFC Films