Director: David Freyne
15 | 1h 35min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 11 May 2018 (UK)
A global disease that turns people into zombies has been cured and the recovered-who remember all what they did when infected- now have to face society's suspicion, in writer/director David Freyne's solidly effective take on the zombie genre. Using the recovered as an allegory for minorities in society (the unemployed, refugees) certainly seems timely, and is reinforced by the Irish setting (a previously divided society still battling the tensions of the past). But in all honesty I was more satisfied with the more leftfield ideas the film toys with, and the machinations of both uninfected and recovered human characters as opposed to the more standard chase and escape goings-on, which eventually take centre stage as the shit inevitably hits the fan.
The real standout is the figure of former infected and prominent community leader Conor (the ace Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, who I've noticed in Peaky Blinders, Daphe and The Infiltrator) who's rise to power in the recovered community increasingly starts looking less like left-leaning, social justice campaigning and more like a power trip driven in part by a desire to recover the sense of wild freedom being a zombie gave him. One scene, where former infected Senan (Sam Keeley, sadly stuck playing a less interesting character than antagonist Conor) sees a group of fellow former infected huddled together and breathing in shallow fashion in an eerie parallel to their past group behaviour as zombies, raises all sorts of interesting questions about the nature of the virus, as well as making you wonder about how many of these poor souls might also actually want to devolve back into their old blood-spattered status; where at least they could be free of doubt and care about what the rest of society feels. Ellen Page gets a small role as Senan's sister-in-law Abbie, and she makes the most of it, even if a major revelation that hits her character feels somewhat inevitable and is then neatly dealt with thanks to a convenient plot development.