February 19, 2018 The Cured (Movie Review)
For years, the Zombie genre has been beaten to death, over and over again. There are so many Zombie films out there that, if one were to stack every release into a pile, it would topple over and flood the Earth in a sea of video cassettes. Even television aids in this situation airing shows about zombies feasting on survivors. Networks use the old tagline: “It is not about the zombies; it is about the people” to fool viewers into watching a Zombie film that is 10 seasons long.
However, a few films have managed to float above the rest in an overcrowded sea of sameness that have spun fresh ideas around a deadened Horror trope. Two in particular to mention would be 2002’s 28 Days Later, and its sequel, 2007’s 28 Weeks Later. Both movies feature normal people being turned into red-eyed murderous lunatics after being infected with a rage-virus. This feature brought back the scariness missing from the Zombie lore for so many years. But, has there ever been a film tackling what would happen if the infected were cured? On Friday, February 23, 2018, the answer comes in the cinematic form of IFC Films’ release of The Cured, in theaters and On Demand. It could be an indirect, unofficial but welcoming sequel to 28 Days Later. Not sold yet? Keep reading…
To give a full description of The Cured would ruin the entire movie, but in brief, a Maze Virus had once infected half a population of people, turning them into carnivorous zombies. Thanks to modern day medicine, a cure had been found. The persons freed from this infection remember every single thing that happened—every murder; every bite; every ounce of bloodshed. These types of thoughts haunt the mind of recently-cured Senan (Sam Keeley: Burnt 2015, Anthropoid 2016), whose nightmares ravish him of a good night’s sleep. Senan is deeply burdened from what he had seen, and faces harsh discrimination from a society not ready to forgive for the carnivorous attacks of the infected. Luckily, Senan’s sister in-law, Abbie (Ellen Page: Hard Candy 2005, Juno 2007), whose husband was killed during an attack, offers him a place to stay as he slowly seeps back into the real world.
Writer/Director David Freyne hits a homerun with feature début, The Cured, showcasing many different elements of human emotion against an eerie, moody backdrop. The way he mixes Horror, Drama, and tiny sprinkles of Science-Fiction is brilliant. Freyne knows just when to scare the skin clean off the bones of the moviegoer, and when to pull at the heartstrings. Not ever does The Cured venture into clichéd territory, nor does it feel like just another Zombie movie. While many fans will compare the Maze Virus to that of the Rage-Virus, then so be it; because if ever there were to be a second sequel to the 28 Days Later mythos, then the Horror community need not wait any longer for such a release. The Cured is perfect to be crowned such a film. If this is truly Freyne’s first real feature début, he sure as heck brought out some of the best acting from his lead actors, and from his supporting cast.
Ellen Page is remarkable in this film. Audiences will agree. Page not only took on the role of Abbie—she completely possessed her character’s body. She will grab hold of the audience whenever she is within camera frame, stealing the show as she puts forth raw, true human emotion into her grieving Abbie. One scene in particular will have members of the audience thinking about Ellen Page long after The Cured has ended. If it were not considered creepy, one could only wish to hug and to thank her for such an emotional impact seen upon the big-screen.
Sam Keeley is such a good actor, and there is a slight chance he is not aware of such a fact. During the running-time of The Cured, what is being shown is a man forced into depression from a past he never wanted. Senan’s troubles are doubled having to deal with discrimination from society, and an utterly dark feeling of self-reproach. Like Ellen Page, Keeley is fantastic in his role, being true to heart, and giving off many real-life reactions to many real-life situations. At times, watching Page and Keeley will feel like what is being seen on the big-screen is nothing more than looking out from a window watching the events unfold on the front lawn.
It would be an injustice not to mention Actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (The Infiltrator 2016, Maze 2017), who is strikingly great in his role as Conor, portraying a once-infected man now-affected from the backlash of his being cured, and in whose troubled mind lurks a nasty secret. Vaughan-Lawlor implanted a soul into his character, gifting life to a person beaten down from a past over which he had no control. His portrayal will beg the audience to understand, and to feel the emotional distress that has taken over his Conor.
With so many Zombie-related movies released since 1968’s Night Of The Living Dead, only a select few have stood out more than the rest, spinning new ideas around a very-tired Horror genre. The Cured is definitely one of those films. Not only does the movie provide a new twist to the Zombie lore – it adds so much more than anyone would ever perceive. Raw emotion, and real-life situations is what keeps The Cured floating above that great, vast sea of sameness. The very thought of being one of the characters cured of the disease, having the memories of what had occurred during the infection, is the true Horror lying within this amazing film. No jump-scare could ever mask or shadow this thought.
David Freyne has proven what a fantastic writer and director he is with The Cured, scaring Horror fans in a much different way, while using familiarity to help tell his story. What is most funny is how his movie really is about the humans, and not about the zombies. David Freyne did not only re-invent the Zombie lore – he cured it. For a movie that never lets go until the very last credit rolls upwards, CrypticRock proudly gives The Cured 5 out of 5 stars.