The last fifteen years have seen another spike in pop culture’s obsession with zombies. What was it before that, vampires? There’s the immense popularity of Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” comics for Image with issue #177 out next month, the TV series just started the second half of Season 8 last Sunday in the US, it has a spin off called “Fear: The Walking Dead.” Then there’s the CW’s “iZombie” and the Syfy network’s “Z-Nation” to name a few other zombie shows.
“Shaun of the Dead,” “Resident Evil,” ‘Warm Bodies,” “Zombieland,” “Planet Terror,” “28 Days Later,” “Train to Busan”(which I found really frustrating because for about 95 percent of the film, no one used weapons against them and just ran) did well with both audiences and critics.
The end of the 2013 Brad Pitt film “World War Z” (based on the Max Brooks zombie books) suggested a cure could be forthcoming towards the end. Writer-director David Freyne’s “The Cured” tries to get into this next phase of zombie storytelling, imagining a world where a cure is developed for the zombie virus. I think treatment is a better word vs. cure, but “The Treated” is a less zingy film name.
The movie has an interesting premise where people previously infected and zombified were given a cure and an attempt is made to re-integrate them to society (in this case some city in Ireland). Thing is, the former zombies retain memories of their former attacks; the cure is not 100 percent effective for everyone; some remain feral and unwell, pushing scientists to sort that conundrum and finally, how does one welcome an ex-zombie back home? With a party?
The film retains a grim tone all throughout—I was thinking there could be room for some comedy or more action? It sort of just sputters. Was “The Cured” attempting to make some sort of allegory about the throngs of “othered” in today’s modern world? If it did, it dropped the ball on that as well.
At this stage in the zombie genre game, I would like for more zombie properties to explore this angle. For example, after eight seasons of “The Walking Dead,” the cast is walking around in circles repeating plot points but not quite getting to an end game.
The predictable and cyclical narrative, as well as the choices to kill characters to shock, instead of considering their value to a bigger story have lead to disgruntled fans and viewers. The show’s season 8 premiere ratings dropped 33 percent from the previous year according to Forbes magazine and the mid season finale ratings late last year were the worst for a mid season break since Season 2 according to the TV Line website.
If horror drama might not be your thing, opening today as well is Jennifer Lawrence in the spy film, “Red Sparrow.” “Peter Rabbit” is out with great cast including Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, James Corden, Sam Neil, Domhnall Gleeson, Elizabeth Debicki and Rose Byrne.