The Cured stars Sam Keeley, with Ellen Page, and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and follows the aftermath of a virus outbreak that hit Ireland. This outbreak devastated the population of our small country but as the film opens the audience learns that the infected have been cured. There is one major complication however the infected remember everything. Combine this torturous issue for the “victims” with a society that does not want them to return to the fold and you have a film filled to the brim with tension and riddled with horror.
The audience sees the events of The Cured through the eyes of Senan (Keeley) a recently cured infected who is returning home to his sister in law Abbie (Page) and her son Cillian. The transition is tough especially as he has recurring nightmares from his days as an infected. He finds comfort with former infected in arms Connor (Vaughan-Lawlor) who is finding life as a “cured” distasteful as he is not used to being part of the disenfranchised. As the story unfolds and Senan and the people of Ireland try to figure out what to do after this ordeal events begin to spiral out of control and something darker could be on the horizon.
The Cured is a fascinating film, the characters and the environment they live in is a disturbing one. The themes delve deeper than pure horror, there are elements of homophobia, issues with immigrants, among others and they are treated with a deft hand. This is due to the expert writing and directing from David Freyne. His story is deeply emotional with Senan on the edge of madness trying to keep it all together. His only shining light at first is his daily visits with Connor but this is slowly replaced with his relationship to his young nephew and Abbie, much to the chagrin of Connor. Senan’s journey in The Cured is a compelling one, this is due to the wonderful emotive acting from Keeley. He brings such an incredible vulnerability to the role and you empathise with him throughout his struggle in the film.
A bizarre twisted mirror to his journey is the descent of Connor who as the film tumbles to its climax is a Machiavellian figure turning his marionettes to his twisted whims. At times he’s great, a truly monstrous individual but there are times when he goes a bit above and beyond the call of duty and he seems out of place in this all too real dystopian world. There is also Abbie’s part in the film, Page play’s it decently but she is more a reactionary foil to Senan and Connor. Thankfully though she has a few scenes that are quite commendable in particular a scene with Senan in the third act of the film.
The technical aspects of The Cured, from the cinematography to the sound choices are chilling. Freyne and cinematographer Piers McGrail paint a broken Ireland. The streets are strewn with symbols of anti-infected and there are houses not quite returned to the living. And when Senan has his flashes back to what he was the audience is given a brief look at what a horror it was to be in such a claustrophobic prison. It is terrifying and the sounds that come out of him and others like him is deeply unnerving.
The Cured is a fantastic horror filled with moving performances and a story with many threads to pull on. Just be ready because there be monsters here.