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Categories: Movie Reviews

The Cured, a thoroughly Irish take on a post-zombie-apocalypse, gives the audience a lot to chew on but there’s a lot that’s rotten about it too, writes Mark Birrell.

The Cured marks the feature debut of writer and director David Freyne, evidently an expansion on his 2014 short The First Wave and apparently the first in a series. The film’s google info provides a link to “The Cured Film Series”, despite there only being one of them but The First Wave is effectively a prequel to The Cured’s story and the film certainly does leave itself, roundly, open to sequels; which is maybe the most insurmountable of its problems.

Freyne shows a lot of promise and an itch to develop some of the themes of reconstruction and reconciliation in modern Ireland, something that (on paper) syncs up quite well with the genre but The Cured is more often mired by its setting than it is liberated by it. It’s standard zombie canon with a few additions which, if relied on a little more, could have made the film stand out clearer in such a saturated corner of the market. They allow leads Sam Keeley and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor to have a far more interesting relationship than usual, as two former zombies trying to make it as reformed members of society, but the film is just so punishingly humourless about itself.

As per the Romero tradition, Zombie films can act as a crowd-pleasing platform for social issues but, as per the Romero tradition, it’s kind of mandatory for them to first embrace how inherently silly the concept is. The dead do not walk the earth, the dead never will walk the earth and treating it like a completely realistic scenario is nothing short of masturbatory. Every character is so constantly sombre about the gravity of events which are so removed from real life that you’ll never be able to engage with them emotionally in the same way as the characters do. Even 28 Days Later, a film which The Cured quite clearly wants to emulate, accepted, and benefitted from, its own silliness. It’s not a problem unique to this film, by any means, but it is a problem nonetheless.

The inclusion of Ellen Page, a co-producer on the film, really adds to this sensation of superfluity and, inevitably, superficiality. There’s a grand narrative at play here full of not particularly well filmed gunfire and explosions and it relies almost entirely, as it almost always does, on everyone in a position of authority behaving like a moron; making The Cured a, not wholly awful but unfortunate, example of wanting to have your brains and eat them too.

The Cured is out now in select cinemas and available to download.

Mark Birrell

Mark is the editor of The Spread as well as a copywriter, and lifelong cinephile, who received his bachelors in Film and Comparative Literature from the University of London. You can follow him on Twitter @markwbirrell

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Posted on May 21, 2018

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