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Arts & Culture

'The Cured' Asks, Once A Zombie Always A Zombie?

Sam Keeley as Senan and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Conor were once infected with the Maze virus but were cured in the new horror film "The Cured."
IFC Films
Sam Keeley as Senan and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Conor were once infected with the Maze virus but were cured in the new horror film "The Cured."

Irish film uses horror to explore themes about 'the other'

Companion viewing

"28 Days Later" (2002)

"In the Flesh" (2013 BBC series)

"The Girl With All the Gifts" (2017)

"The Cured" (opening Friday at Landmark's Ken Cinema) serves up zombies of the infected kind, and as with most films of this kind, the horror is used to reflect social issues.

In the Irish film "The Cured," a virus called Maze turns the infected into violent creatures that feed on humans. But a cure is discovered that returns most of the infected to "normalcy."

One side effect, though, is that the cured remember all the horrific things they did while they were infected. But some of the infected prove resistant to the cure and that's cause for concern. Plus there are many in society that fear the cured may still be dangerous. This results in the rehabilitated zombies being treated as second-class citizen who have reduced rights and are treated like criminals.

Senan (Sam Keeley) is one of the cured and he is returned to society to live with his sister-in-law Abbie (Ellen Page) and her young son. He knows that he killed his brother, but he doesn't know how to explain to Abbie what happened to her husband. Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) is also one of the cured, and he tries to foment a rebellion among the former zombies. He tries to enlist Senan's help since the two of them were cured and rehabilitated together.

But as the film progresses, we realize that science may have been able to reverse the effects of the Maze virus, but it can do nothing to change the personalties of the victims, some of whom were prone to violence before being infected.

Writer-director David Freyne creates a thoughtful and provocative zombie film. It is not about the zombie apocalypse but rather about the aftermath as the world tries to recover. At a time when there is considerable political discussion about “the other,” a horror film that takes the point of view of the infected zombie packs a potent social message about how society treats those who are perceived as "different" and how the other being more like us than we might want to admit.

"The Cured" (rated R for graphic violence, some of it involving children) is a somber, serious-minded horror film that wants us to think about what happens when we decide to treat a class of people as sub-human. This terrain was also covered in the BBC series "In the Flesh" in a more clever manner that managed to be both unexpectedly funny as well as chilling and provocatively disturbing. I highly recommend that show for any zombie fan.

‘The Cured’ Asks, Once A Zombie Always A Zombie?
"The Cured" (opening Friday at Landmark's Ken Cinema) serves up zombies of the infected kind, and as with most films of this kind, the horror is used to reflect social issues.

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