Grim but thought-provoking, The Cured is a bleak and oppressive movie that asks one simple question: what if zombies were cured and had to live with everything they did?
It’s a brilliant idea which makes for a serious horror-drama that strikes the right balance between subtext and flesh-eating mayhem. The story follows Senan (Sam Keeley) and his sister-in-law Abbey (Ellen Page) after a zombie outbreak has been brought under control. Senan, among others, has been cured and allowed to return to his normal life. However, he’s haunted by the memories of his monstrous acts and must live with the terrible guilt, shame and regret.
The virus is called ‘the maze’ and a small minority are still infected, but they’re locked up in a secure facility awaiting examination. Senan and other members of the cured have come back to their neighbourhoods seeking redemption, though no one’s in the mood for forgiveness, which isn’t surprising. When you turn into a homicidal maniac and roam the streets brutally attacking people, you’re hardly going to get a warm welcome.
Much like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, the zombies are used as a vehicle to explore human problems. Abbey preaches reconciliation while Connor (Tom Vaughan Lawlor), a fellow ex-infected wants a revolution, as he resents the loss of his job as a barrister. The drama rises when Connor forms an alliance to challenge authority and the parallels between this and Ireland’s history of resistant movements is definitely not coincidental. The Cured could have been set in any other nation that has experienced being divided, so it’s a powerful social commentary.
In terms of the performances, Page and Keeley are quietly impactful, and Vaughan Lawlor is genuinely scary as the villain. The Cured is pretty slow to unravel, until the violent, chaotic final third, which manages to avoid falling into old brain-eating tropes. The Cured is much smarter than your average zombie flick. Just don’t expect a light at the end of the tunnel; The Cured is down-right moody. Overall, it’s really engaging, doesn’t lay things on too thick and has some memorable final scenes.
Watch the trailer below:
Directed and Written by: David Freyne
Starring: Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
Distributor: IFC Films
Run Time: 95 minutes