After being infected in the wake of a violent pandemic and with only 48 hours to live, a father struggles to find a new home for his baby daughter.
ActorsStarring: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius, Kris McQuade, Natasha Wanganeen, Bruce R. Carter, David Gulpilil, Andy Rodoreda
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The zombie genre is certainly alive and well these days. So how do you make another movie about the undead that has something new to offer? Actually, a lot of recent zombie movies aren’t about undead raising from the grave – most of them have some kind of disease as the background to people ‘turning’. This makes it more credible than raising from the dead, and also means they can probably still be killed. The same applies to the zombies in Cargo, but it has two elements that do make it stand out: firstly it is a human story rather than a gore fest; and secondly it is set in the Australian outback.
Andy (a committed Martin Freeman) and his wife Kay (Susie Porter) are living on a houseboat with their baby daughter Rosie, trying to survive in this world devastated by a viral epidemic that turns infected humans into ‘diggers’: crazed zombies who hunt for raw flesh and dig holes to stick their heads in to get some sleep when not on the look out for meat.
When Andy and Kay independently make a couple of stupid decisions they end up infected. First Kay en later Andy. We learn the ‘zombie rules’ early on in the movie – it takes 48 hours for an infected person to turn, so this is the time Andy has to somehow find a way to save Rosie.
As he traverses the outback, he meets Thoomi (Simone Landers), a young aboriginal girl who lives on her own away from her tribe, as she is trying to protect her infected father from getting killed by them. Indeed, she has found a way of surviving with an infectee. But Andy is already infected, and is getting more and more desperate to find someone to take care of Rosie before he turns full-on digger himself.
It is not an exceptional film, but it is a somewhat refreshing addition to the genre. The Girl With All The Gifts is a better movie on all counts, and Train to Busan is more fun; but this is probably the most humane zombie film I have seen, and Freeman does a commendable job carrying the movie together with Landers.