Lately I’ve been venturing in George Romero’s filmography. Yes, I’ve seen Night of the Living Dead and many other zombie flicks, but I have this urge lately to grab onto everything Romero related. The other night I watch the theatrical cuts of both versions of Dawn of the Dead, which is a great double feature I have to say. I have a stack of Romero blurays and DVDs sitting in my room now, some of which will be first time viewings (BRUISER!). When it comes to the zombie subgenre, there are plenty of hits and misses. I’m a huge a fan of the 28 Days Later movies with its vicious execution in questioning on who are the real monsters in the movie. Romero always used his movies to thematically present a socially relevant allegory, by seducing us into buying a ticket with the promise of gruesome undead killings. That’s my kind of guy: someone who can scare me and make me think at the same time without having to shove anything down my throat. There’s been many trying to cash in on the zombie craze the last few years especially since “The Walking Dead” became a pop culture phenomenon that doesn’t appear to be dying anytime soon. However, bland imitations don’t leave a lasting mark like the best always do. Writer-director David Freyne is heading in the right direction with his feature debut, THE CURED.
The “Maze Virus” has spread across Europe turning humans into vicious cannibals and in a state of psychosis. When we enter this world, a cure has been found, but a quarter of the infected are resistant to the antidote. Those who are cured are being transitioned into normal society, being released from a somewhat of a prison camp. One of them is Senan (Sam Keeley) who is an example of those who remember what they did when under the virus spell and finds himself overwhelmed with guilt as we get glimpses into his past and what he’s done. He stays with his sister-in-law Abbie (an always interesting Ellen Page) who wants to believe that the cure is a true example of good things to come. However, much of society feels uncomfortable around the cured and start protests and harassing those assisting the cured. There’s an ignorance floating in the air that scares everyone, including the cured as they are now the ones fearing their own safety.
Senan’s friend, Conor (Tom Vaughn-Lawlor), is also one of the cured and doesn’t like the idea of Senan living with Abbie. The reasons are unclear at first, but we are thrust into flashbacks throughout witnessing their crimes. THE CURED toys with morale as it’s questionable if these cured human should pay for what they had no control over and, if not, then who should? These questions both everyone and the segregation between both everyone becomes even more divided. The cured hold meetings together on how to deal with not only the changes, but how to protect themselves from humans.
What’s really interesting about THE CURED is that while it focuses more on the social commentary and drama surrounding these characters, it also doesn’t shy away from trying to make you jump in your seat. There’s some great character stuff going on here, especially when you have talent like Page involved, but there’s also plenty of blood to satisfy fans of the subgenre who hunger for the meat of it all. It’s a bit on the slower end for some who need a full on bloodbath, but I think fans are going to enjoy this as I feel it’s the closest thing we’ll get to a modern George Romero zombie movie.
THE CURED arrives in theaters and On Demand February 23, 2018