Saturday 15 December 2018

The Cured movie review: 'Boasts a killer socio-political set-up but end product is a dud'

The Cured (16, 95mins) **

Sam Keeley and Tom Vaughan Lawlor in The Cured
Sam Keeley and Tom Vaughan Lawlor in The Cured

Chris Wasser

YOU have to wonder what the late, great ‘father of the zombie’ film, George A Romero, might have made of Irish film-maker David Freyne’s feature debut, The Cured. Here we have an unsettling, contemporary genre piece that, for a while at least, harks back to a time when the zombie movie was so much more than, well, a zombie movie.

For a start, The Cured boasts a killer socio-political set-up. The concept — that in which the ‘cured’ survivors of a global virus (zombie) outbreak, are reintegrated back into an unforgiving Irish society — is one of the smartest we’ve come across in ages. So, how come the end product is such a dud?

Sam Keeley is Senan, a 20-something-year-old survivor who is haunted by his past. He was a zombie, basically. He killed people. And now, he’s human again, and trying to restart his life against a noisy backdrop of fear and prejudice. His widowed sister-in-law, Abbie (Ellen Page, who also serves as co-producer), welcomes Senan into her home, much to the annoyance of her neighbours.

Senan may be wracked with guilt, but his mate, Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), another survivor, is angry. Life after a bad zombie party can be tough, man, and we’re about to find out why.  Did I mention how much I love the concept?

It really is a fabulous one. Such a shame, then, that Freyne abandons this promising premise in place of one too many jarring and derivative action shenanigans. The relentless diversions and unnecessary sub-plots are exhausting. The flabby screenplay needs work.

Keeley is trying hard, as is Page. But Vaughan-Lawlor is surprisingly out of tune. In the end, it’s a whole lotta nothing; a crushing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Bitterly disappointing.

The Cured (16, 95mins) **

Read Paul Whitington's review: The Cured movie review: 'Irish horror full of good ideas shot in and around north central Dublin'

Also out this week: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie review:' 'Newell’s film is not without a certain retro charm

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