Movie / Soundtrack
Movie Distributed By: IFC Films
Musical Score By: Niall Kennedyand
Soundtrack Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Earlier this year, I listened to the soundtrack of a horror film called The Cured. In researching the movie, I discovered that the plot was a twist on the zombie film genre – what would happen if we could cure the infected? Would those who suffered at their hands be willing to forgive? Were the cured really cured? The concept was so interesting and the musical score so disturbing, I decided to hold off reviewing the soundtrack until I could see the film and review them together.
The Cured takes place in Ireland after a plague, known as the Maze Virus, has swept through Europe. The victims of the illness are transformed into flesh-eating, seemingly mindless, homicidal entities. Ireland was particularly affected, leaving the country in shambles. A cure has been discovered and 75% of the infected have been captured and treated, but assimilating them back into society is no easy task, considering what they did while they were infected.
Senan Browne (Sam Keeley) is considered one of the lucky ones – a cured with a family member willing to take him in. As Senan leaves quarantine, he says goodbye to his fellow infected friend Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) who advises Senan not to tell his sister-in-law, Abbie (Ellen Page), the truth about what happened while he was infected. As it turns out, the cured remember everything that they did while infected and Senan has a particularly dark secret he is keeping from Abbie, hoping to spare her and her son, Cillian, from the horror of it all. Senan is assigned to work at the very center for rehabilitation he came from, taking the position as a sort of penance for his sins. But Senan has difficulty dealing with his dreams in which he kills someone he and Abbie both cared for deeply.
Meanwhile, Conor is having great difficulty assimilating back into society. A former lawyer with political aspirations, Conor feels the cleaner job he was assigned by his Rehabilitation Officer (Stuart Graham) is beneath him. Unfortunately, when he attempts to approach his father for assistance, he is rebuffed – Conor apparently did something despicable to his mother while infected and his father wants nothing to do with him. As Conor becomes more and more disillusioned with the world he has been brought back to, he uses his charisma to become leader of the Cured Alliance, a group of the cured who use violence to fight back against the prejudice and confinement they have been experiencing since returning to society.
It all comes to a head when Conor decides that the Cure Alliance needs to go bigger to get everyone’s attention. He plans on gaining control of those still infected slated for extermination and he wants his old friend Senan to help.
I applaud the interesting storyline twist in The Cured. Everyone is always hoping for a cure in these zombie films, but nobody ever considers the consequences of those cures. How would you feel if someone you loved was killed by a zombie only to have that zombie return to society seemingly cured? You can’t bring that loved one back and that zombie doesn’t seem to have suffered any consequences for their actions now that they are cured. I’m certain that many would feel that this wasn’t exactly fair. I also liked the idea of the hive mind mentality that the infected seem to share in this film. Very interesting concept. In addition to these interesting twists in the zombie genre, the infected in The Cured are relatively fast moving and particularly vicious…and that breathing…yikes!
The acting in this film is excellent. I have never seen Sam Keeley in anything prior to The Cured, but he does an excellent job portraying a man wracked with guilt over what he did while infected who is also conflicted over the way the cured are being treated now that they have been integrated into society. That conflict over what he should do and who he once was is easily evident in his face and body language. Ellen Page is great as the survivor who opens her door to a former infected because he is family, only to discover that she may be putting herself and her son at risk. And Tom Vaughan-Lawlor – from the start, just the facial expressions alone, you get the feeling something’s just not right with Conor and that’s due to the incredibly acting. This character totally spooked me out and I applaud Vaughan-Lawlor for his performance. The cinematography was great in this film, offering up angles and fast-speed movements without showing too much gore.
But of course, no horror film is complete without a scary musical score and that leads me to the very reason I ended up watching this film. The musical score of The Cured was created by the composing team of Rory Friers and Niall Kennedy. Musician, composer and guitarist for the Northern Ireland instrumental rock band, And So I Watch You From Afar, Rory Friers developed a love for music through his father’s collection of prog rock albums and the musical instruments found in his family home. Niall Kennedy has been a musician since the age of ten, beginning by playing the drums before turning to the guitar at the age of fourteen. He has performed with a number of Irish bands, such as The Smiles, Panama Kings and more, before joining And So I Watch You From Afar. Friers and Kennedy’s composition of the score for The Cured marks their debut as film composers.
The score created for The Cured is mainly electric/electronic, with synths, electric guitars, sound manipulation and reverb. The music is incredibly dark and ominous most times, especially in tracks featuring Conor where there seems to be an acidic undertone. Reverb plays a big part in Senan’s nightmares. Even in lighter tracks like Bike Ride and Washing Jo, though not as dark and ominous as the rest, contain a morose sound, almost as if nothing can ever go back to normal despite Senan’s being cured. The score was spooky enough for me to want to know more about the film, and though I probably wouldn’t have bought The Cured Soundtrack, it was definitely worth the listen both before, during and after watching the film.
If you are a fan of the zombie movie genre, you are going to love the twist on the tale found in The Cured. You may curse the surprise ending, but I guarantee you will be thoroughly entertained throughout!