There may be no wow factor, but there’s a level of intrigue only few could resist
Zombies are everywhere. From around the time of The Walking Dead’s first season released on AMC in America, Zombies are very much the enemy of choice for post-apocalyptic and monster films. Usually over the top and relying on horror themes to produce a thrilling story, the zombie scene has been somewhat overdone, which really can be traced back to the turn of the millennium, and further.
However, Cargo is different. Set in rural Australia, Andy (Martin Freeman) becomes infected by the virus turning many of the population into undead creatures. With 48 hours to live, he must find someone to look after his young daughter Rosie, before he turns feral, ending her life with just one bite.
Often coming across as a mood piece, Cargo isn’t looking to scare with its zombies. They are not used as a horror trope, instead they are just a threat. An outside entity that will become a problem should Andy not find a safe space for Rosie to live in. This difference in execution is vital to the film’s individuality, putting a new spin on a tired zombie theme.
Other films have tried similar excursions in the past, in alternate ways, Zombieland being a mainline pick, but Cargo is calm and particularly human, it feels very much standalone. Admittedly, it can feel too close to the themes of 28 Days Later. However, with these ideas twisted amongst the endless Australian countryside, the setting becomes a gaping hole at the back of each scene, only adding to the sense of dread and unknown Cargo looks upon.
Some of its influences are slightly too obvious, and zombies are overused in the modern pop culture market, but that doesn’t take away from Cargo’s individuality. It is still an inventive film with an original story line and a marvellously empty backdrop. There may be no wow factor, but there’s a level of intrigue only few could resist.
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