We’re back in the comfortable horror milieu of the zombie apocalypse for “The Cured,” an Irish-set spin on the familiar scenario of outbreak, rinse, repeat. In writer-director David Freyne’s tweak, it’s a post-post-apocalypse: a cure has proved successful, and all that remains is what to do about those who come back and the incarcerated percentage resistant to the remedy.
For once-afflicted Senan (Sam Keeley), just released from the treatment center, it means managing the PTSD of remembering horrific acts he committed, while easing his way into society through the help of his widowed sister-in-law Abbie (Ellen Page). The citizenry’s intolerance for medically rehabbed killers, though, is at an all-time high, which spurs one of Senan’s fellow “cured” — a to-the-manor-born politician (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) stripped of his ambitions by the virus — to organize the ex-sick into an upstart force.
Lo these many years since George Romero incubated an entire genre, it’s nice to see adherents like Freyne find new prisms of twisty social dysfunction — like this one’s IRA allegory — in the concept of crazed people eaters. Stylistically, the muted hues and naturalistic performances even suggest a classic Irish political thriller first, zombie pic second. And yet the confluence of rebellion, personal responsibility and genre violence never quite gels, perhaps because the realities of a zombie movie ultimately dictate where these things are headed. No matter how bad a movie contagion is, for horror filmmakers of late zombies are all too often a safe space.
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Playing: Landmark NuArt, West los Angeles