Now here’s an original idea that I’ve never seen done before: a post-zombie apocalypse story. Usually when a story involves zombies, it’s either the beginning of the end of the world, or during the end of the world. Never anything that happens after.
That’s what the story looks like it’s about. A zombie invasion destroys much of the world, but then a cure is found and administered to the infected zombies and the revert back to their normal selves and attempt to get reintegrated back into society. But the public at large still has deeply rooted hatred for the cured, but one is given the benefit of the doubt when his sister-in-law takes him in. But it looks like the cure may not work as effectively as anyone might hope and the main character seems to let on that he can still feel the urges clawing out.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Sam Keeley (MEGAN LEAVEY , ANTHROPOID , BRUNT , and upcoming films MEASURE OF A MAN  and PEACE ), Ellen Page (FLATLINERS , SUPER , HARD CANDY , and the upcoming NAYA LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DOLPHIN ), and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (THE INFILTRATOR  and the upcoming AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is David Freyne, known for short films. The co-composers are Niall Kennedy and Rory Friers, who are making their composing debuts; congrats, gentlemen. The cinematographer is Piers McGrail, known for a bunch of short films, and is slated for the upcoming WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE (2018). Finally, the editor is Chris Gill, known for CHURCHILL (2017), THE INVENTION OF LYING (2009), 28 DAYS LATER… (2002), and upcoming films SCOTT AND SID (2018) and AMERICAN ANIMALS (2018).
Overall, early ratings are pretty negative, but I’m hoping the idea alone will pull me through because I do legit think it’s interesting. Honestly, the worst thing this movie can do is make the trailer a two minute version of the movie, where the zombie apocalypse starts again and all that work curing the zombies just goes out the window, making the movie utterly pointless. If not, meh, I think I might like it.
This is my honest opinion of: THE CURED
For a long time, the world was plagued by a zombie outbreak. But then a cure was discovered and seventy-five percent of the zombie population was turned back to normal, gaining the nickname, “the Cured.” The remaining twenty-five percent are held in captivity until the government can decide what to do about them. The story follows Senan (Sam Keeley) and has been taken in by his sister-in-law, Abbey (Ellen Page) and her young son. Despite being relatively normal, the population at large continues to harbor hatred for the former zombies. This has not gone unnoticed by Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), a Cured that originally turned Senan and develops a connection with, but also fears that those who hate the Cured will always mean them harm, and the only way to guarantee safety is to revolt.
Sadly, the negative reviews are kind of warranted. I can’t say I completely dislike it, but I can’t say that’s it’s good.
The characters are dull. The actors are fine enough. As anyone can imagine, Page is always great in the stuff she’s given, and this is no exception. But for all the talent that’s trying to surface, it can’t break through the limitations of the writing. They’re all pretty one-note. Senan is one of the Cured who wants be normal again. All well and good, but he spends the entirety of the film moping around. What wouldn’t surprise me is if that’s what he was directed to do. That through Senan’s eyes, we’ll see his pain and it’ll speak volumes. It would be more effective if he wasn’t stupid enough to live in the house of the sister-in-law, whose husband he killed. Not even turned into a zombie, by the way, but straight up murdered. Why would he stay with them, knowing that he killed her husband and the father of their child? That ought to have more of an emotional impact on him. Oh, and all this information about Senan killing his brother, this isn’t a spoiler. To boot, the Cured are subjected to prejudice, so attacks on him and anyone who shows him sympathy. Surely Senan would at least try to manage on his own before desperation kicks in to live with her and her kid.
Vaughan-Lawlor is in the same relative boat. On the one hand, you can see a good character trying to get out. Conor is a man who killed his own mother as a zombie, whose father rejects him when he’s cured, there’s something there to make a sympathetic villain. Unfortunately, you get less of a man who is ostracized from society and more of a petulant child who came from a wealthy background and doesn’t want to mop the ground. Clearly, this calls for a revolution, according to this character. He also loves to spout that the Cured are constantly attacked, and while we can probably assume this is true, it’s far less effective to not be shown what their troubles are as opposed to just talking about it. And he develops a random-ass crush on Abbey. If I let my man-brain take over, I’d say, “Tehe, Ellen Page, no one can blame him,” but there has to be something to their interactions that would trigger those emotions in him. But here’s how it goes. They meet, and then they talk on a bench for somewhere between two to five minutes, and by the end of their exchange, he’s holding her hand… to which Abbey doesn’t have much of a reaction to. Don’t get me wrong, she never returns or accepts the advances in any way, but there was nothing that screamed “She’s perfect for my affections.” All they did was talk and I don’t even recall about anything particularly important. In a single series of sequences, they meet and he’s obsessed. It’s so forced.
Abbey is arguably the most likable character. She’s kind-hearted, generous, still relatively fearful of the Cured, but willing to give them, specifically Senan, the benefit of the doubt. She’s not confrontational when she doesn’t need to be, but not unwilling to put herself in danger, among other good qualities. But where she falls short is through the bad writing. She’s clearly not comfortable around Conor when he grabs her hand in their initial conversation, so why would she later accept him into her home? It’s her private property and has every right to deny entry. Even stupider, there’s a scene where she’s outside during a zombie outbreak and sees a zombie way down the street. Any normal person would simply run inside her home, lock and barricade the door, run upstairs, grab a weapon, and generally stay safe. But what does Abbey do? She runs into her home, grabs an ax, and runs right back outside with it, and when starts down the street looking for the damn thing. Yeah, that really happens. Did… no one argue this? Not Page, not the director, no one fought against this colossal lack of judgment?! There’s another scene where she infiltrates a hideout for the revolutionary Cured and they try to hold her hostage, but never contacts the local authorities. Fine, the cops, military police, whoever these guys are aren’t the most trustworthy folks. But you gotta give the proper channels a chance to do their jobs before resorting to your own extreme measures. Just because the main general dude is an asshole doesn’t mean he’s not incapable of doing his job.
Even at the end of the day, the very concept of the movie isn’t done justice. A post-zombie apocalypse. How do you mess that up? Well… in retrospect, pretty easily. At the end of the day, the story amounts to little more than your run-of-the-mill persecution film. Replace zombies with blacks, transgenders, foreigners, the religious, and you have something that’s been done a thousand times over. Troubled minority? Check. Rare acceptance from general populace? Check. Hate crime at some point? Check. Hell, if X-MEN (2000) was a boring zombie flick, then this would be what you’d get. Think about it. Conor is the more troubled leader of a persecuted group who hates humans as much as they hate him (Magneto), a best friend with history together who tries to stop him who is part of that persecuted group (Professor Xavier), a liberation plot line that will essentially turn humans into the persecuted, and throw in Kitty Pryde for good measure.
So… is there anything redeeming? Well, like I kept saying, I do like this concept. Given a different creative team behind this, I think this could be an interesting story to explore. Page does really well, but I think that was a given. So… nothing particularly tangible that might make it a recommendation. But I neither hate it, nor think it’s all that bad, but it’s definitely not good. It’s an Irish indie film, I think, so finding it in theaters may be difficult. It’s just as well. If you can’t resist seeing it, I recommend a rental, or streaming service. Even then, it’s a light recommendation. You’re not missing much if you skip it entirely. A surprisingly original idea, but a far too safe and dull execution.
My honest rating for THE CURED: a weak 3/5