You can’t beat a clever premise’d movie. Take for example The Quiet Place and its glorious movie premise. Great movie premises are so obvious and simple, and yet, so fantastic simultaneously. That’s what we have here with the movie The Cured.
The setup is simple. A world zombie outbreak has rocked the world. But eventually the world cured the zombies stalking the planet. And the only problem? The Cured still remember everything about being a zombie and they have done horrible, terrible things while zombiefied. And, on top of that? The world has begun releasing the cured zombies back into the general population after living in containment centers.
Come on! That is a fantastic backdrop to plant your story in. It’s brilliant. What do you do if you are a father, greeting your son that has just come back home, and oh by the way, your son happened to have eaten his mother? See?!? Hahahaha. That is the definition of a complicated story! Here, if you have to, check out this trailer. But my hope is I’ve already sold you on the idea and you are already finding a copy of the movie and watching it.
Hey! From here on out we are going to deep dive into this movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really need to not read this review. Because it will trash a really good movie. Ok? Seriously. Spoiler warnings from here on out!
The Cured Deep Dive Walk Through
As I said, the movie kicks off with one of the greatest setups ever. Incredibly brilliant. A global zombie outbreak has occurred. But eventually it was contained. The zombies were captured and placed in containment facilities. And eventually a cure was found for 75% of those that were infected. 25% remained resistant to the cure. The controversial bit? The Cured were beginning to be released back into the world. And like returning prisoners, they are definitely not wanted in society. In fact, they are releasing the third and final wave of the Cured back, and simultaneously embarking on a project to exterminate the remaining resistant zombies.
COME ON! That is so much goodness. I mean, is this an even subtle conversation about the IRA and the battles fought there in Ireland over the last centuries? Is it a discussion about police brutality and our inhumanity to those we try to “rehabilitate”? Is just a general discussion of man’s overarching inhumanity to man? Is it a discussion of our own sin nature and the battle internally to fight against the desire to do something horrible? Yes! It’s all of these thing of course. Sorry, I am horrible at staying on track. It’s a good thing I don’t have an editor attempting to clean up this mess, I’d pay through the nose to get this right mess cleaned up!
So, as the final Cured begin coming out, they all have a rough time of it. “They treat us like lepers… it’s better inside than out.” they say to one another. And soon the Cured begin getting parol officers that check up on them regularly. The Cured are given menial jobs unlike the jobs they had before they were infected. These are the left over jobs of society. And they are told that they have to learn to obey and then everything will be just fine.
The Cured Zombies Remember
One of the greatest motifs or inventions of this story is that the cured zombies remember everything they did while they were zombies. While mindlessly killing, eating, converting humans, they remembered all of it. And now? After being cured, they are strapped with these horrible memories of these horrible things that they have done.
Hahahah. Which. I have to say… is basically what it is like to be a human. There are things that I remember that I have done… and they hit me like a wave. The meanness of the act. The idiocy of a lie. The horribleness of a thought? And I am instantly filled with regret. Like for example, my best friend through high school (I’m really hoping that no one I know from this time period reads my blog because, damn. But here goes anyway.) was an awesome gal. Gorgeous, absolutely perfect woman. We did everything together and spent literally decades on the phone each night. My parents assumed we were dating. But, as far as I know anyway, we never did, in spite of seeing more movies with her than I have really with anyone else on the planet probably. And more times out to eat than I can count. Anyway. Well, it came to be that I was dating another gal, and I decided I was moving on with this best friend of mine, and wasn’t going to be spending as much time with her anymore. Well, the book Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the movie based on it Dangerous Liaisons, were my absolute favorite things in the world at the time. And I thought that it would be a good idea to let her know I was moving on and then to reaffirm it by restating, “It’s beyond my control” over and over again every time she asked why. If you know that movie, you know that book, then you know what a central moment that was to the book. (And sure, ok, maybe I was a little offended that she rebuffed my initial advance years prior and I never followed up because of the pain of that rebuff. But I digress.) But even so, possibly the single meanest thing I’ve ever done to another human. She basically unhinged psychologically she was so mad. It was really really a mean, horribly mean thing for me to do.
Regardless, occasionally the memory of that moment hits me out of the blue. Just completely broadsides me, T-bones me where I stand, and it can even take my breath away. But these memories of former atrocities are real, human experiences that everyone has. Maybe that isn’t a thing for you. (Congratulations. And thanks for making me feel horrible about myself!!) But the fact that these film makers have made me identify with a cured zombie? Hahaha. Is flipping brilliant. But to be clear, you don’t need to be a cured zombie – struggling with the pain of your monster path – to have this problem.
And when Anna chats with Conor, a Cured, ex-barrister who is now a cleaner, she asks what it was like. And his response was one of our first windows into what they went through, and what he tells her is that it was hell. That it was horrible fighting yourself while locked in the cage that is your body. ‘But what they don’t say is what happens when you stop fighting, and you just go with it.’
The Search For a Cure to the Resistant
Senan (Sam Keeley), the movies narrator, and Cured Zombie, is released in the third wave, and is picked up by his sister-in-law Anna (Ellen Page). Her husband was killed in the zombie apocalypse, by his own brother Senan actually. And when Anna finds out she flips completely out and forces him to leave. But that is later. Now though, Senan is put to work at the scientific research facility in charge of finding a cure to the resistant strain, and that had found the first cure.
I have to say that this is a play similar to World War Z, I am legend, and nearly every zombie movie ever made. That the movie hews closely to the science and the scientists attempting to cure the Zombies and find the solution to this horrifying problem. So there were two problems the scientists needed to solve in this world. Apparently. There was a cure to this zombie infestation. And then there was a cure necessary to a resistant strain necessary as well.
And there is a female zombie that seems extraordinarily important to Dr. Lyons. The chief scientist searching for a cure. But we get a hint at first that this female zombie is extraordinarily important to the doctor. And later on we learn that she is her love. And that makes this sideline quest of hers all the more poignant. And Senan? He was there in this research center to help restrain the zombies as Dr. Lyons works on them.
But in this movie, the science, the cure? Is actually secondary. It’s a cool secondary thread. But still secondary. The movie is actually about forgiveness. It’s actually about restitution in spite of horrific wrongs commuted. I’d argue, that the movie is really about our desperate need for grace in this terrible thing called life. I have wronged so many. I am in desperate need for this thing called grace. To be restored and to be reunited in spite of our flaws. I told you of my enormous screwup with my high school best friend. And my concern? That you’ll think less of me as a result of this terribly mean thing that I did to her. And yet? That is just the tip of the proverbial ice berg.
The Cured Uprising
One of the most interesting parts of the movie was how these Cured and downtrodden individuals banded together and began a resistance movement. They have been a pariah too long, and hated too long. And so they begin to plan to fight back. So they recruit Senan in order to use his connection to Dr. Lyons and the resistant zombies. And at first, Senan is all in. But then he realizes the danger he puts Anna and her son in. So he walks away. But through several twists, Conor forces Senan back into helping them. And their plan is simple, they are going to utilize the doctor and promise her they will break her girlfriend free. But instead they release them all simultaneously, which starts a new outbreak. 8,000 new humans are killed or turned.
More importantly, Dr. Lyons realizes that she has cured the resistant strain, and that her zombie girlfriend was cured with her last treatment. But immediately upon reconnecting, Dr. Lyons is killed by an attacking zombie.
As the wave of chaos spreads through the city, Anna realizes the trouble they are in, grabs an axe and proceeds to kill a zombie. But then she’s hauled into a military truck and restrained from going after her son. But seeing Senan, she yells for him to go get her son. So, not to put too fine a point on it, but this is his chance at redemption. After Anna found out that Senan killed her husband and flipped completely out, it was obvious she was going to have nothing to do with Senan ever again. And yet, here is his opportunity to save Anna’s boy.
So Senan runs to the school to get him. And Conor and Senan have a bloody show down that Senan eventually wins… and he is able to get Cillian back to the house where they meet up with Anna. (Meanwhile, Anna had to break out of the quarantine in order to get back to them.) But out of the blue, Cillian and Anna are attacked by a zombie, and Cillian is bitten. So Cillian is going to die… well, become a zombie anyway. But Senan has a plan. And takes the boy back to the research facility to get him the cure that he needs.
Explain The Ending of The Cured Please
When I watched the ending of the movie, I was so so confused. Why is her house a mess? Why can’t we see who else is in the house? Why are we staring at Anna? And why are Senan and Cillian just walking through a field?!? I was literally hitting rewind on the video to watch the ending over again when it suddenly became clear.
After Senan and Cillian went to Dr. Lyon’s lab to cure Cillian, the political climate was changing as a result of the outbreak. 8,000 more infected and a dead lead scientist meant that they were going to keep killing the zombies. So in order to stay safe, something was going to have to change. They weren’t going to be able to stay in the city.
Another problem? Anna couldn’t stay at the house, so she had to leave, and make her way back to the quarantine. She wouldn’t have survived otherwise. And so we see her coming back to find Senan. And when she walks in she is overwhelmed at what she is seeing. And that is, markings on maps showing where Senan was going to take Cillian. Which, means that Cillian is alive. And from here, Anna will need to venture out of the city to rejoin the two of them.
So What did The Cured Mean Though?
Personally I found The Cured riveting. And the conversation this movie should kick up, should be robust and in depth around our own personal lives. Because I see it just as a metaphor for our desire and need for grace today. Think back to Senan, and his terrible nightmares that he was having throughout the movie. Nightmares of attacking Cillian. Nightmares back to his time as a zombie. And think back to my little story about “It’s beyond my control”. You have your own stories like that. And sure, I’ve done worse things in my life, but the stories that flash back to me like Senan’s flashbacks are the ones that impact good people directly. And this movie is saying, if you have horrible memories, it means you are human. If you don’t? (Like Conor didn’t) it means that you are a real monster. Which, says to me, that if you are a normal human, you are desperately in search of forgiveness and grace. And we are all in desperate need for forgiveness and grace.
Which is totally why I love movies and stories crafted by other humans. They continually write stories that resound to the human condition. They tell stories of loss and of desires for connection. They tell stories of reconciliation and the desire for forgiveness. Which? Is just another vantage about the need for reconciliation with our Creator. Why yes, I happen to be a Christian, which is why I find these motifs so intriguing and so compelling. But whether you are a Christian or not it doesn’t matter. Because these stories matter to all of us as humans. And these humans tell such great stories that really matter to all of us! So great.
What did you think of the movie? Am I smoking crack with my view of the movie? What did you see as you watched it?