Toronto Film Review: ‘The Cured’

Variety | 9/13/2017 | Dennis Harvey
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Just when you thought nothing new could be done with the undead, “The Cured” pulls off a fresh take on zombie terrain. Irish writer-director David Freyne’s impressive first feature lends the dimension of political allegory that recently deceased subgenre king George Romero brought to his many “Dead” films, albeit in a somewhat subtler fashion. The result effectively plays more as serious drama than as horror thriller, despite key elements of the latter. With Ellen Page offering an additional lure for stateside audiences, this imperfect but compelling work has strong prospects if it can avoid the often hazardous theatrical gap between art house and mainstream audiences.

Opening text informs us that the “Maze virus” began sweeping Europe some years before, inducing “violent psychosis” and cannibalistic hunger among its victims. A cure was found (apparently by Paula Malcolmson’s Dr. Joan Lyons), but one-quarter of those infected remain “Resistants,” immune to its effect. The luckier majority are haunted by undiluted memories of what they saw and did while animalistic savages — and many of those who survived uninfected cannot forgive them, no matter that the afflicted had no control over themselves. A first and second “wave” of such societal re-integrations apparently had disastrous consequences. Lyons and the government insist the cure has now been perfected. But a third wave of “the Cured” are being released to face public fear, prejudice and attacks.

Senan - Sam - Keeley - Guilt - Fact

Among them is young Senan (Sam Keeley), whose nightmare-addled guilt is all the worse for the fact that he remembers killing and devouring his brother, Luke. He can’t bring himself to share the knowledge with the latter’s widow, Abbie (Page), an American journalist who’s stayed in Dublin to raise their child as Irish. (It’s also hinted that she may be stuck here due to strict U.S. contagion-prevention laws.) She’s invited Senan to stay...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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