“The Cured” is a very unique zombie film.
Rather than being set amidst the hustle and bustle of people trying to avoid being bitten by rampaging members of the undead, it takes place in the aftermath of a zombie attack.
Those infected are now being reintegrated into society, while they also have to deal with the fact that they can remember all of the atrocities they committed when zombified.
A zombie film being rich in political subtext isn’t anything new. But the approach “The Cured” takes makes its message and warning feel particularly potent and timely.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to one of “The Cured’s” lead actors Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and he admitted that the film is as much about Donald Trump and the rise of the right across the western world as it is about guts and gore.
What first attracted you to “The Cured”?
I got the script and to be honest when I was told that it was a zombie or horror film I was cautious. Mainly because I am so ignorant to that genre and the subtleties in it, and the potency for it as a mode of storytelling. I knew Ellen Page was onboard, and when I read the script I just found it so clever and the drama of how we reintegrate people who have caused damage into society I found quite pertinent and compelling.
Were you a fan of the horror genre?
I am quite squeamish. And I am not a fan of zombies. But that was just through ignorance, because connoisseurs have explained how powerful it can be. It was an education really. And I was so happy to be proven wrong about its potential.
Did you enjoy being a zombie?
I have a new found respect for people that work in horror films. Because it requires so much intensity and energy, and you need this heightened intense pitch. Then with all the make-up and stuff like that, you realize how much hard work goes into it.
Did “The Cured’s” director David Freyne discuss the film’s message with you?
He told me, ‘This is a political allegory. But it has to work on a horror film level, too.’ You can’t have one without the other. He’s a proper artist. If it was just a zombie movie, it wouldn’t matter. It has to have this political undercurrent message. It is relevant to so many conflicts and political dynamics. Especially with Brexit and Trump, even Le Pen in France, and how we treat people that are others and that are in need of help. I think “The Cured” is a damning message for people that turn away from those in need. We are sunk as a species if we aren’t helping those in need.
Your character is especially political, too.
We see how people that start off with good intentions can become corrupt by power. Or people that have been corrupt or questionable all along can manipulate disenfranchised marginalized people and bend them to their will. Which is, quite unfortunately, very timely.
What makes “The Cured” so unique?
Because it deals with the aftermath. The psychological, emotional and societal fallout of a mass infection and how we as a society deal with guilt and people who are different to the norm. That’s what really struck a chord with me. Because the character is so rich, and his complexity is so vivid, all of which is a gift for an actor. He isn’t just the villain, he has something to say, as he tries to help people that have pushed people aside.
“The Cured” is in theaters in New York now, and available on demand and via digital HD