When it comes to zombie films, you could easily say they’ve done it all. In David Freyne‘s debut film, The Cured he comes up with an ingenious twist, a fresh take on a tired sub-genre…A cure!
What if there was an worldwide epidemic that stole your loved ones, you would do anything to get them back? Yes, even if they killed someone? That’s the burning question that plays part of Freyne’s provocative zombie flick.
The Cured is based on the Irish filmmaker’s 2014 Short film called First Wave. We find ourselves in the Irish capital, Dublin, several years after the Maze Virus ravaged Europe. The virus turns people into cannibalistic monsters, thankfully a cure has been found.
75% of those infected, the cure treatment has been an success. It does come with one downside, the infected remember everything they did. One of those ‘cured’ is Senane Browne (Sam Keely)haunted by the memory he killed his brother. His Brothers widow, Abbie (Ellen Page) offers Senan a place to stay with her Son. Abbie doesn’t know Senan’s dark secret. She is an American journalist whose eyes are opened to the injustice, rejection, persecution the infected suffer on a daily basis.
25% still face an uncertain future. Senan struggles seems to get worse as finds it hard to fit in, fragile and opened to be propagandise . Whilst in the treatment centre he meets Conor (Tom Vaughn-Lawlor), a former lawyer whom he befriends. Abbie encourages their friendship hoping it will help her brother in-law to fully recover. She doesn’t realise the pair have a past.
As Conor becomes a more powerful voice, a leading figure to the ‘cured’, he encourages Senan to get more involved in his movement. Even if those actions are consider terrorism. Threatening him to plunge his world and Abbie’s world into chaos if he refuses.
Some are calling this an ‘Zombie’ film, technically it’s not as the ‘infected’ aren’t actually dead. They are not Romero zombies or The Walking Dead walkers, if anything they are cousins of 28 Days Later infected. What ever you think, they are still a terrifying prospect if you were confronted by one face to face.
From the early Zombie films, having an idea of finding a cure was unthinkable. Would have George C.Romero’s Dead trilogy still have been highly regarded? Probably not, maybe the sub-genre would have been short lived too.In The Cured, the idea works largely thanks to keeping things simple but with a cost.
Calling the infected, victims leaves the door open to interpretation. Is the cure their redemption and a chance for them to reflect on their actions? The Cured is an Pandora’s Box of metaphors and allegories.
The film maybe set in Southern Ireland, the film is an examination of their Northern neighbours troubles. An voyeuristic look into the sectarianism, violence and intolerance that plagued the country. They even call the virus the ‘Maze Virus’ after the infamous Belfast prison that holds the paramilitaries of both sides. You could also argue the film looks at Ireland’s relationship and attitudes toward immigration.
You always feel there’s also a sense of stigma on the infected. On those who had the virus in the same way those people who lived with the AIDS/HIV virus. Through flashbacks and Conor been rejected by his father, you’re left wondering was he gay? Was Senan his lover? The pair shared guilt and sexual tension, but they never really try expand on this idea.
Despite the few short comings in certain story arcs, The Cured is a stark reminder on how delicate and cruel humanity can be. If we don’t face up to society’s demons , those troubles will be knocking on our doors once again.
Horror, Drama | Ireland, 2017 | 15 | DVD | Arrow Films | Dir.David Freyne | Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor