Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


The Returned (2013) Spain/Canada

This movie is more of a thinking kind of movie so if you're looking for zombie apocalypses, blood and brains and intestines, and vicious attacks followed by vicious retaliation and lots of chopped off or shot off heads, it's not here. This movie is kind of like an older description of The Walking Dead: 'A bunch of people argue and once in a while a zombie shows up.'

If you want to see this, it's not bad - it's just not that great. The implications are interesting and probably a little too close of a true indication of what would happen if a 'zombie' virus hit the world. In other words, since there's lots of spoilers, if you want to see it first it is currently streaming on Netflix.

Now the movie doesn't show it, but supposedly there's a world-wide infection in the 80's that kills millions. Those working on a cure instead have a medication that must be administered daily to, uh, keep the monster at bay. Some say 'How can you live with having to inject yourself every day?' Pffft. Ask a diabetic. They've been doing it for decades. Man up and listen up.

Those that get the infection but are human because of the treatments are branded The Returned. It is now another excuse for discrimination - those who are among The Returned keep it secret to keep their jobs, their families, their friends.

Since this is just a speculation about what would happen in a world where the 'zombie' disease could be controlled, I'll keep this short, as there really isn't much to it anyway and nothing is surprising or much of a revelation.

Kate (Emily Hampshire) is a doctor who lost her family when she was younger in the initial days of the virus. Her husband Alex (Kris Holden-Ried), a guitar teacher, is one of The Returned - only being so because of attempting to help a man he thought was having a seizure who infected him. In order to keep it all quiet, she gets his dosages on the black market.

As the world turns, the disease stabilizes. That means the number of The Returned has increased considerably. The government (Canadian? Spanish?) says the dosages are in short supply and so they will be controlling them. When a synthetic version seems to have failed, the government starts rounding up The Returned in camps. People without the disease just want them all dead. Their fear and hatred are a constant reminder that anyone different from the norm is going to be discriminated against. That was not a big reveal.

Kate and Alex's "friends" Jacob and Amber invite them to stay with them until things quiet down. What they don't know, and again this is not a big reveal, is Amber is also one of The Returned and their ultimate goal is to get all of the dosages Kate bought on the black market. Kate finds her 'source' murdered and things go downhill fast. Jacob and Amber disappear, leaving only one dose and a 'Whoopsy, sorry we stole your stuff' note.

A fellow doctor gives Kate the last dosages the hospital has - he tries to assure her the synthetic will soon be effective and available. As she's leaving the hospital, she's attacked by the father of a Returned boy she saved at the beginning of the movie. Again, not surprising. All the doses are broken in the process.

She goes home to Alex to find he has rigged himself up in his studio for when he regresses into a zombie. He's securely chained to the wall. But he doesn't want to wait - and she can't stand to see him suffer as he begins to have trouble breathing, starts coughing up blood, etc. She ends up shooting him in the head after a tearful goodbye.

And this is no big reveal, in fact I was expecting it from the beginning. She sees the kind doctor who had given her the medication with GREAT news - the synthetic version now works! She realizes she has killed her husband for nothing. That's a familiar gimmick and so also was no surprise.

Our final scene is Kate in a new house, very pregnant, looking over a whole wall covered with information and the pictures of Jacob and Amber as they start a book tour. She's planning to hunt them down and when she does, they're dead meat. Even if she or her half-zombie baby doesn't eat them.

It's interesting, but not surprising, as the whole movie is themed on human nature and human nature is very predictable, whether from small snow storms (one inch of snow falls and suddenly there's no toilet paper, bread or beer in an entire town), to food shortages, power outages, etc.

We're already animals - it's not that big of a step.