Film

In “The Cured,” the Zombies Are More Misunderstood Than Villainous

That doesn’t mean Ellen Page won’t still kill them

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The Cured is yet another post-apocalyptic thriller from the British Isles looking to put a fresh spin on zombies. And it does that — for a while. Set in a damn-near-desolate Ireland, the movie follows Senan (Sam Keeley), a tormented, formerly-infected carrier of the Maze Virus, which turns people into crazed, violent cannibals. Thanks to a cure, formerly rabid folk get to slide back into society. Of course, many of the non-carriers are still kind of salty about that whole homicidal-rampage thing their neighbors went on, angrily expressing their disdain for them living nearby. Senan gets taken in by his American-born sister-in-law (Ellen Page), a single mom whose husband — his brother — was one of his first kills.

Indeed, Cured makes an ambitious attempt at being a zombie movie where the zombies are more misunderstood than villainous. Irish writer-director David Freyne does portray these tortured souls in a far more sympathetic light than the non-carrier humans, who act vicious and foam-mouthed not because of a virus but because they’re ignorant assholes. He even throws in some allegorical and sociopolitical elements, as these ex-killers eventually form an IRA-esque rebellion, led by Senan’s vengeful creep of a pal (Tom-Vaughan Lawlor) and start terrorizing people again.

Unfortunately, all of these factors fail to coalesce in the end, as the jumbled, manic finale builds to a messy implosion. But, hey, the climax does include Page going into big-bad-mama mode and popping caps in zombies’ asses. So, even though The Cured doesn’t quite excel at being both terrifying and thought-provoking, at least it gave Juno the opportunity to become a horror hero.

The Cured
Directed by David Freyne
IFC Films
Opens February 23, IFC Center and Landmark 57

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 21, 2018

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