As a die-hard horror fan, I’ve seen the genre sneeze out more than a few films about pandemics and the terror that comes along with it; but what happens when the disease becomes controlled? How do the infected move on with their lives? Cured delves into these questions somberly.
Adam Zuehlke‘s Cured succeeds remarkably by telling a horrific story on a human scale. The film, co-written by Zuehlke and J.E. Clarke, picks up in the aftermath of a pandemic. Amy (Stephanie Saji), one of the infected, returns home after being quarantined, thus creating an understandable amount of tension within the family of her wife, Alice (Emily Fradenburgh). Through flashbacks, we learn about Amy’s infection, and Cured explores what it’s like to move forward from such a terrible incident.
Consisting of only six characters, the cast of Cured is relatively small. However, each member of the cast delivers excellent, believable performances. Emily Fradenburgh’s performance as Alice is absolutely heartbreaking. Alice’s life was flipped upside down by the pandemic, leaving her with an infected lover and a hole that can’t be easily filled. She is broken, and rightfully so, but she refuses to allow her sorrow to defeat the strength within her. She loves her wife, regardless of what happened when she became infected, and she’s going to stay by Amy’s side for every step of this long recovery. Stephanie Saji, too, is great in the role of Amy. She wears the memory of becoming infected like a sad badge of dishonor, and it’s impossible not to pity her as she’s being labeled a monster by Alice’s mother (Nancy Marvy).
While Cured is much more of a drama than a straightforward horror film, the elements of horror are well-done. The lone horrific scene is a flashback to Amy’s infection, but there is one particular body horror image that caused me to wince. Kudos to Ryan Schaddelee for the incredible work in the special makeup effects department. The true horror of Cured, however, is the psychological toll that a tragedy such as this can take on everyone involved. This short film keeps the terror within a human realm, and it soars because of it.
Cured is a brilliant short film that explores life after infection. An incredible drama with powerful performances and frightening elements of horror, this is a film you shouldn’t miss.