The Cured (2017)

The Cured
Director: David Freyne
Writer: David Freyne
Cast: Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Stuart Graham, Paula Malcomson
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2018

A few years after a disease turned a lot of people into zombies, a cure has been found and the cured are ready to be released back into society. But not everybody is ready to accept them back. One of the cured is Senan (Sam Keeley). after his release, his widowed sister-in-law Abbie (Ellen Page) offers him a home with her and her son. But faced with the suspicions around them, Senan’s guilt for what he did while a zombie and Abbie’s grief, living together really isn’t what you’d call easy.

The Cured started well enough, but in the end it really didn’t manage to convince me. It builds on a metaphor that doesn’t really work the way it is supposed to work. And it relies so much on that metaphor that that failure torpedoes the entire film.

There are (at least) two ways the ex-zombies can be read as a metaphor here. On the one hand, they can be read as a stand-in for pretty much any marginalized group that has to face a society that doesn’t want them and fears them and hates them. That reading quickly becomes dicey when you think about the fact that the zombies actually did harm. They were a threat until they were cured. Whereas marginalization usually happens to people who were never a threat in the first place.

A second possible reading is that the zombies stand for people who did horrible shit in the past but it’s time to forgive them. That could potentially work if the zombies are read as violent criminals or soldiers for whom it is time to come back to society. But two major issues arise here. First, the question of responsibility: the cured in this film cannot be held responsible for the things they did while sick. That doesn’t fly with criminals or soldiers (reading the zombies as mentally ill could, under certain circumstances, mean that the responsibility factor works, but it means the same issues as above: most mentally ill people are not violent are more at risk of being treated violently than non-mentally ill people, so really, no). And the second issue is the concept of the cure. It individualizes violence issues that very often are systemic in nature. You do not cure individual soldiers of war.

I could not find a reading of that obvious metaphor that I didn’t take an issue with. For a film that is such an obvious attempt to be a metaphor and Make a Statement, that is a huge problem. One further exacerbated by the fact that I didn’t understand Abbie’s reaction toward the end and generally, the ending remained illogical to me.

The cast wasn’t bad and it wasn’t boring. But altogether, I have fonder memories of In the Flesh which basically operates off the same premise (though maybe my memory is wrong, it’s been a while that I saw it).

Summarizing: There was an attempt. It failed.

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