David Freyne’s The Cured sees contemporary Ireland is rebuilding itself after the Maze Virus epidemic, and a military run program of rehabilitation is underway for the once infectected. The Maze Virus turned people into flesh-eating zombies, and those who have been treated still live with the memory of what they did in their infected state.
Senan (Sam Keeley) struggles to adjust to his life after rehabilitation. He is given a job as a porter in the treatment centre and taken in by his late brother’s wife, Abbie (Ellen Page). He finds himself bonding with the infected patients at the centre, as he struggles to open up to Abbie about his troubling thoughts. He seeks out Conor, who he bonded with while the two were feral and infected – they both struggle in adjusting to this new way of life. Being infected has left Conor with a superiority complex and he schemes a plan to execute power over the rest of the population; Senan just wants peace.
The film struggles to decide whether to focus on developing the characters or explaining the plot and leaves the viewer mystified at the direction of the story. Page runs circles around her co-stars, but her role as resilient journalist raising her son is underbaked. Freyne hints at a queer relationship between Senan and Conor, but this is never fully realised. Intent on curing her partner, Dr. Lyons on the other hand is the only explicitly queer character in the film, but even she falls prey to tragic tropes. The not-quite-post-apocalyptic setting asks us to wonder what happens after the zombies have been cured, but barely scratches the surface of an interesting story. It fails to do what 2016’s The Girl with All The Gifts did well; telling human story about a zombie epidemic that compels you to the very end.
Exposition is clunkily revealed as the film goes on, which feels like it compromises the integrity of the story. Flashbacks to Senan’s infection are shot clumsily and are more distracting than suspenseful. Visually, the film borrows from other zombie epidemic films like 28 Days Later but finds itself resorting to dull, television drama cinematography.
Overall, The Cured offers a premise that takes a new look at the zombie epidemic genre; however, it seems to get lost in itself, constantly negotiating between character and plot and losing out on both.
This film will screen from Friday 11th of May to Thursday 17th of May. Get tickets here
The GFT also offers a free 15-25 discount card to students, available here.