The Cured Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Arrow Films
Written and directed by David Freyne
2018, 95 minutes, Rated 15
Released theatrically May 11th and on DVD, Blu-ray and Dgital May 14th, 2018
Ellen Page as Abbie
Sam Keeley as Senan
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Conor
Paula Malcomson as Dr. Lyons
The zombie genre, like its undead protagonists, refuses to die, or at least groan out with any dignity, as yet another spin on the much-loved movie monster tale hits our screens courtesy of first time writer/director David Freyne.
In among the mostly unknown cast, Ellen Page (Flatliners, Hard Candy) inexplicably turns up and is barely able to raise the film above its low-budget shenanigans to give us anything more than what feels like a fan-made love letter to Danny Boyle’s 2003 hit 28 Days Later.
The action takes place years after the ‘Maze’ virus has ravaged Europe, with a cure having already been found. Those that were infected and turned into the undead are now cured but still retain the memory of everything they did. The idea is actually pretty sound, as it opens the genre up to something intrinsically human, dealing with post-traumatic stress and acting as a metaphor for mental health and dealing with depression.
Set in Dublin the story also heavily hints at some of the problems the country has faced in the past with political and societal unrest being a major theme running through the film.
We follow Senan Browne (Keeley) who has been cured of the Maze virus and is being re-introduced into society. Still haunted by the truly horrific nature of his disease, he is taken in by his brother’s widow Abbie (Page) who is understandably cautious, especially as she has a young son. Abbie is the emotional backbone of the film, showing empathy, patience and strength in the face of growing anger from the surrounding neighborhood.
In an attempt to keep peace in the country there is heavy government interference as the cured are under constant monitoring from the army.
What works very well is Senan’s anguish at being torn between the warmth of family and the relationship with his fellow cured, in particular his friend Conor (Vaughan-Lawlor), who is far from happy with the situation, Conor was once a Lawyer but is now forced to take his state enforced role as a cleaner.
As Conor gains followers and attempts to bring Senan into his protest group Senan is thrown into a world that he desperately wants to avoid.
Senan’s virus-induced actions, that hold a dark secret, are told through flashbacks and it’s in those moments that The Cured is most effective. Equally effective are its moments of human interaction; Keeley is understated but believable and Ellen Page’s performance as a mother dealing with the loss of her husband is truly heart breaking.
Sadly, although zombie fans will have plenty to enjoy from the later stages where gore takes centre stage, it just feels forced. The story is a brave attempt to look at the fear of a nation in turmoil but it feels like Freyne handles the more traditional horror elements with disdain as if it’s a story he just didn’t want to muddy with the motifs of a decades-old horror staple.
It’s emotional with some nice ideas but sadly can’t put enough meat on old zombie bones to create something really special.