It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born. For the curious, here are links to 2008, 2009 (a bad year), 2010, 2011, 2012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013, and 2014. Bad Friday The Returned (2013) Director: Manuel Carballo Writer: Hatem Khraiche The Returned is a film collaboration by Spanish writer Hatem Kraiche and Spanish director Manuel Carballo, set in the U.S. but shot in Canada with a budget of approximately five million dollars. That’s not a lot of money when it comes to feature filmmaking, but it goes a lot farther when shooting in Canada. This film is the exact opposite of The Battery, and so it didn’t really hit me the same way. It’s well-made with excellent performances; it has a serious message about tolerance, acceptance, and friendship; it tells a story that is both intimate and massive at the same time while side-stepping a number of the clichés and narrative traps of the genre. I should have loved this film (and to be honest, Dr. Girlfriend did enjoy it a lot more than I did). My main issue with the film is that it was so traditionally a FILM. There wasn’t anything naturalistic about it, and watching it back-to-back with The Battery, the artifice of filmmaking, both in traditional writing and directing techniques, stood out. The Returned is a very good film. It just didn’t connect with me on an emotional level. The film is set in a post-zombie-apocalypse world where the undead were defeated and life went back to normal. Mostly normal, anyway. Zombieism is treatable with a daily injection of a retroviral drug that keeps the infected from becoming flesh-eating monsters. The kick is, this treatment only works on those who are injected within the first few hours of their infection, and if they miss a single dose they are irreversibly transformed into zombies. It’s an idea that is very similar to a UK TV series that recently ran for two seasons called In the Flesh, where the undead are treated and integrated back into society. The main difference being that in In the Flesh, they are cured after having gone on cannibalistic rampages and have to live with the memories of what they’ve done. In The Returned, that emotional complexity is missing, instead being substituted for a general sense of unease and paralyzing fear of infection. And when treatments begin to run out, the paranoia of the uninfected turns into the vigilante justice of the mob. The endgame of the film is very traditional, right down to frightened betrayals and a nihilistic bleakness very similar to that of The Mist. The surprises that occur are mainly surprises of omission. The film sets up elements that you think are going to break one way, but then don’t. There were at least three major plot points I thought were going to happen that never did — or did in ways I really wasn’t expecting. That’s always a good thing, and one of the reasons I can safely recommend this film to anyone reading. I just didn’t care about the characters. Not because the central performances (12 Monkeys‘ Emily Hampshire and Lost Girl‘s Kris Holden-Ried) weren’t good. They did a very good job making their characters’ struggles with impending zombieism believable and relatable. There was just something about them that I didn’t connect with. Maybe it was their social status? I don’t know. Hampshire plays a well-respected doctor and Holden-Ried is her infected artsy musician husband. Their best friends are a writer and her manager husband and along with Holden-Ried are kind of like bohemian artists who hit the big time. They’ve got all the money they need to do whatever they want, and that distanced them from me. They weren’t ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. They were the neuvo-rich in mildly extraordinary circumstances and I found it difficult to care whether they lived or died. But here’s the kicker. I don’t think that’s a problem with the film. That’s totally on me. The Returned is definitely a film zombie fans should see. Just realize that it’s not really about zombies — there are only one or two scenes of actual zombie action. This is a film about a husband and wife dealing with a life-threatening medical condition and what happens when their access to medicine is being cut off. There’s some real dramatic meat here and I think a lot of people will enjoy it, even if I didn’t. See larger image Returned New From: $21.01 USD In Stock EZMM 2015 Day 6.2: The Returned (2013)Paul's Rating3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.