Monday, June 25, 2018

Movie Review: "Cargo" (2018)

Director: Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke
Year: 2018
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

During the zombie apocalypse, a father who has been infected has 48 hours to get his baby daughter to safety before he "turns" and becomes a zombie himself.
"We have to think about Rosie." (Image Source)
The scariest thing in a zombie apocalypse is never, ever, ever the zombies. "Cargo" is the feature film directorial debut for both Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke. It is also written by Ramke and is an expansion of their short film of the same name from 2013. The film takes place in a sprawling, rural Australia during the zombie apocalypse. It focuses on a small family composed of a man named Andy (Martin Freeman), his wife Kay (Susie Porter), and their little girl Rosie. When Kay is infected, Andy struggles with the decision to kill the love of his life. Though he eventually finds the strength to do it, he is bitten by her in the process. Once infected, people who are inflicted have about 48 hours before they turn into zombies completely. Andy tries to use that time to find someone who can take care of his daughter and keep her safe when he is no longer himself.
"Andy, you can't control this." (Image Source)
There are a few different types of zombie flicks out there. Some focus on gore, blood, and guts and the use the fear of an inevitable bite to fuel its entertainment value and carnage levels. Others explore humanity and society and show how a zombie apocalypse affects human relationships in both positive and negative ways. "Cargo" is definitely the latter.

This film takes place in rural Australia, so it is not full of shoulder-to-shoulder zombies like you might see in films that take place in big cities or densely populated locations. This isn't a movie where people plow through endless hoards of the undead with guns, axes, and knives. That being said, it does still have an occasional zombie encounter, though filmmakers Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke rarely focus on the blood and gore aspects of these moments. This movie is all about finding a sliver of hope and humanity in an inhumane world. As with most zombie flicks, paranoia is at an all-time high. As we mentioned above, the most dangerous thing isn't the lumbering zombies threatening to end your life with one single bite, it's fellow humans looking to do anything and everything they can to survive regardless of others. Andy must wade through the worst humanity and mankind have left to offer to find someone he can trust when trust is scarce. Martin Freeman does a fantastic job and offers a very layered, nuanced performance in this much more intimate horror film. Some other good performances come from Simone Landers who plays Thoomi, a young girl who accompanies Andy on his quest, and Anthony Hayes who plays a fellow survivor Vic, a man with his own ideas of how things should be run after the fall of society inflicts those who have survived.
"You're the first people I've seen, the first people who are still people." (Image Source)
"Cargo" is without question a bit of a slow-burn horror film, but there is enough tension to keep us engaged the whole time. We never once felt bored while watching this movie. This is a splendid, well-made film that is worth checking if you are looking for a different kind of zombie movie. That being said, those expecting to see a faster paced Zac Snyder-style "Dawn of the Dead" type of undead flick may want to steer clear of "Cargo."

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.4/10
RT Rating: ~85%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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