Warning: Potential spoilers ahead!
I’m a fan of zombies, I’m a fan of movies, so, therefore, I’m a fan of (a good) zombie movie. When I heard about a new movie starring Ellen Page coming out called The Cured about zombies that were cured and trying to re-enter society, I thought, “Oh they made In the Flesh into a movie?” but after seeing the trailer and reading what critics are saying, I’ll be honest I was shocked. Many are hailing the upcoming Irish film as “original” and “unique” but what I saw is a copy of an original.
Over time many zombie films have had little moments where zombies act human again or show signs that they remember a small part of themselves, granted usually for dramatic effect before they are killed right before the eyes of a past loved one. In 2013 there was Warm Bodies, a horror rom-com about a zombie falling in love with a human girl and as the two’s romance blossoms he slowly becomes more human again where at the end he’s completely human again and cured of being a zombie along with many other zombies who slowly return to their past lives.
In the Flesh, on the other hand, is a bit darker, in England survivors of a zombie apocalypse, both living and undead, are trying to make a go of living side by side. Ex-zombies are going through rehabilitation programs where they attend meetings (support groups) to deal with the trauma of what they did as zombies. The story follows one ex-zombie named Kieren who returns home to his family but was permanently changed physically; he has to wear makeup to cover his now changed skin and has to wear unnatural looking contact lenses to cover his eyes that were changed as a reult of the zombie virus.
Kieren faces rejection from members of his own family as well as society where he experiences a form of racism towards the past undead where lynch mobs go and kill his kind and claim that they were “rabid”, a term used on the show to describe an ex-zombie who stopped taking their medications and became a full-blown zombie again. Some of the ex-zombies start to rebel by not wearing their makeup and contacts and taunt their human counterparts adding even more tension leaving Kieren and others like him who are zombies trying to return to human society to feel abandoned since they don’t “embrace” their new selves or because they’re no longer human.
The show was canceled after two seasons due to budget cuts making it the zombie-fan’s Firefly. The upcoming film The Cured appears to be a darker version of In the Flesh and from the company credits (director, writers, producers) no one involved in this production worked on In the Flesh and though not much about the storyline is known at the moment, from the trailer (seriously guys stop showing pretty much the whole movie’s plot in trailers!) it’s pretty much the same if not a dare I say a “knock off”.
Zombies are cured and are trying to return to society and their old lives but face discrimination, rejected from their families, have to take a medication that seems to work for some but not for others. Ex-zombies find comfort among their own, there’s increasing tensions as it appears cures are not working, ex-zombies are torn between two worlds (the one they want to return to and the one they want to forget).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure The Cured will be entertaining in its own right, but it bothers me when critics praise a film as original when clearly it’s not, credit should be given where it belongs, In the Flesh did it first, but the only difference between the two is a bigger budget and a big name American actress playing a lead role.