Film Review: The Cured

Writer-director David Freyne’s zombie thriller The Cured boasts a great premise, which is executed pretty well.

A cure for a disease that has turned people into zombies has been found. The former zombies have to be reintegrated into society, despite the reluctance of many who saw the horror of the outbreak…

David Freyne’s posits a very interesting starting point; that there is a cure for a zombie virus, and the cured must be integrated back into society. The film feels of the same ilk as Maggie and The Girl With All The Gifts in terms of wanting to do something different with a prolific sub-genre. The Cured distinguishes itself from these recent films by having its own unique take.

The film really picks up from a point beyond where most zombie films end. The emphasis, at least in the first half of the film, is how the former zombies get treated by the rest of the population. Senan is a good protagonist for the audience to view the action through. He experiences both the hostility and aggression of others, as well as the welcome of his family as he tries to integrate.

Like many horror films, there are definite allegories at play in The Cured. Early on the film, for example, recovered patients speak about being made to feel like lepers. As the film progresses, the film takes on a political element with the recovered patients being positioned as a marginalised group. It is a clever take, and one that has parallels with the treatment of such groups in recent and not so recent history.

Connor makes for a decent antagonist; it is a good thing that the personal nature of his drive is commented on later in the film. Sam Keeley delivers a good performance, as does Ellen Page as his conflicted sister-in-law. The use of gore is quite restrained, and although jump scares are used, the film relies on a quite style of horror.

Although the ending is not completely satisfying, Freyne’s film has a lot going for it. The Cured offers a disquieting, but not unrealistic dystopia.

The Cured is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.

Film Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts is an atmospheric thriller that engages its audience. The film appeals with its tone, even if the plot is too conventional at times.

Helen is a teacher to students that are bound to wheelchairs and locked in cells – for the safety of the teachers and stuff. She strikes up a rapport with Melanie, a bright young girl. When an incident occurs at the base, Helen and Melanie have to fight for survival…

Based on Mike Carey’s novel (who also writes the screenplay), The Girl With All The Gifts functions as a dystopian thriller. The film is cold and atmospheric rather than a searing horror. Nonetheless, they are very effective moments of tension throughout the film. These are used sparingly, so the film feels like a moderate creep rather than a roller coaster.

Helen is a good protagonist in that she is not as hardened as characters that surround her. The relationship between Melanie and Helen is sweetly portrayed. Their scenes are the most genuine interactions throughout director Colm McCarthy’s film. The pair face threat from within as well as external.

The horror is obvious, what works is the way the film builds up to this. There is a distinct mood to the film which is maintained throughout. As the film progresses, some of the ideas attached to the theme run out of steam. The film falls into familiar trappings in the second half. The brief moments of dark humour in The Girl With All The Gifts work well. The ending of the film is satisfying in its realism.

Gemma Arteton offers a decent performance as Helen. She has good chemistry with Sennia Nanua’s Melanie. Paddy Considine and Glenn Close are perfectly adequate in supoort roles which are not really fleshed out.

The Girl With All The Gifts is an interesting watch, with some great ideas floating around. Although it keeps its strong tone, more could have been done with the narrative.