Directed by David Freyne,
Starring Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Stuart Graham, Paula Malcomson, Hilda Fay
A post-Zombie infection movie starring Ellen Page and shot in Dublin. Instead of the more common setting that takes place during a zombie outbreak, The Cured takes place after the main event. Medical science has found a cure and a remarkable 75% of the population who have been infected with the Maze Virus can be cured, and it seems, never affected again. After a quarantine period they can rejoin society (a bit like the BBC series In the Flesh from a few years ago). As with In the Flesh though, some parts of society aren’t fully behind these people returning to the world. The vaccine will cure them, but it has one side effect, it leaves them with the memories of those they killed and their time as the zombie. The film centres around Senan (same Keeley), who is one of The Cured, and his rejoining life outside the quarantine zone.
As a rule I don’t really like Zombie movies much (I know heresy for a horror fan). I don’t know what it is, but apart from the few exceptions they are pretty much the same thing over and again. The exceptions are The Train to Busan, The Girl with all the Gifts, and the 28 Days/Weeks movies. I love other horror movies and monsters but Zombies are not high on my list of terrors. The Cured now joins that list. Taking the story up on the side that we rarely to never see, which is after a cure is found, and with a populous torn between the love for their country and the safety around them. Seeing those who get the cure having to live with what they did during their infection is an amazing way of approaching the story.
Senan had a brother, and it’s not clear at the start how they got split up, but we soon get the picture. After he’s cured his sister in Law offers him a place to stay while he rebuilds his life, This is the first time in a while where I enjoyed watching Ellen Page as the American sister in Law, who can’t return to the States as her son was born in Ireland, and they don’t want any chance of infection coming over there (shades of the BSE scare, now applied to humans). Senan also has a strange connection to one of the other inmates of quarantine called Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), and it’s a great thing to explore as the hive mind of the zombies lasts after the cure has been given to them.
Playing Senan is Sam Keeley and it’s far from the standard horror acting role that he gives, instead it’s almost heavy melodrama, which works as he struggles to work through his violent memories and the persistent hatred from the general public, a mixture of living with public fear/hatred and heavy PTSD. Conor is played almost like if Hannibal Lector was infected and cured, by the always watchable Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, who before the infection had a great career as a barrister which was leading to a political career. It’s Conor’s disappointment and reaction to his new position in the world as a cleaner that leads to the more militant action taken by The Cured.
This film is shot in Dublin, and it’s only watching this that I realised something about my home county, something I’ve never noticed before but it’s true. There are many parts of Dublin outside the parts that tourists visit that look like the footage of Soviet era Russia. The stark landscape adds to the feeling of a society that was brought to its knees by this Maze Virus.
The surrounding characters to Senan’s story are a military sergeant who is basically his parole officer, and he is hard on the Cured because he doesn’t want them released, instead he wants them eliminated like the 25% who cannot be cured. There is also a small side plot of the doctor who came up with the Cure trying to find a variation to help her partner who is part of that 25% who it doesn’t work on. You can tell where the story is going to go but there are enough creative ways of retelling this story that it leads you to enjoy the film. The Zombies and threats of them are there, don’t worry, it’s just that this story focuses on the human and dramatic consequences of us overcoming the virus and the emotional consequences of trying to live with the memory of atrocious acts you have committed, even if you were not in control of yourself at the time. Try to catch this one if you are a fan of the 28 Days/Weeks films, or a Zombie fan in general.