The post apocalyptic zombie genre has been dragged out time and time again beyond the point of redundancy, thus making a strong case for filmmakers to stray away from the once popular niche. However, “Cargo”, based off a short film of the same name, attempts to prevail through the graveyard of its predecessors.
The film follows Andy (Martin Freeman), a man who has been recently infected by a zombie virus and must seek refuge for his infant daughter before he turns. Very much like the short film, Cargo’s core revolves around the love of a father, willing to do anything to protect his own. Freeman for the most part puts on a believable performance, but there seems to be a lack of true standout moments for his acting chops to shine. We do get a couple instances of grief and hesitation as he faces the strife put in front of him; however by the wrap of the film there’s an unsatisfactory feeling of wanting much more. It is however great to see a film focus less on the encounters of zombies and more on the struggle of survival at hand, thus giving a boost to the film’s overall presentation.
It’s quite interesting how the virus is presented. Those infected begin to produce this sap-like fluid which seeps from their injuries, eyes and mouth- working as a great substitute to the overused fever symptoms that are constantly used in zombie flicks. The subtle yet pivotal inclusions such as survival kits that have information on the disease and as well as medical devices add further more to the overall lore of “Cargo.” There are several survivors through the enormous landscape of Australia, the film’s setting, but interactions between survivors showcase that this virus has been around for a while; leading strangers to be more cautious with one another. We never get a thorough explanation on what happened to the world, but the story plays out in a way that gives us enough information to be captivated by the story.
To pinpoint a specific genre for the film would be difficult as “Cargo” jumps through various hoops. One moment your body may be tensing up in suspense, to minutes later feeling the emotions running through the father’s mind. The score adds to each specific change, making it easier to understand and channel the emotions that fit with the given scene.
Everytime a new zombie movie comes out I tend to be hesitant due to the genre being overplayed in recent years, but the premise of Cargo stands out with its ongoing disheartening theme. The overall execution doesn’t break into the category of stelar films, however it’s still fine addition to any horror marathon.