Review: Netflix offers refreshing take on zombie genre with ‘Cargo’

By Dakota Cantwell

The streaming service Netflix is constantly taking steps to add new and fresh content for their viewers and on May 18th it added it’s take on the zombie film genre with the netflix film “Cargo”.

Based off the 2013 Tropfest finalist of the same name, “Cargo” is a refreshing take on the genre. Unlike many films of this genre, “Cargo” does not center on a group of survivalists slashing their way through hordes of zombies or a group of scantily-clad teenagers looking to be massacred. Instead, the film focuses on a father trying to save his one-year-old daughter in the midst of a zombie apocalypse before he succumbs to the virus himself.

The film’s slow-moving, character-driven plot is made brilliant by the emotion and range that star Martin Freeman. Known for his roles in “Sherlock” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Freeman breathes life into a zombie film that isn’t focused on mayhem and gore.

Set in Australia, the scenery of the film is breathtaking and the movie utilizes the many different settings that Australia has to offer. Much of the film is Freeman carrying his daughter from one location to the next as he searches for a safe place for her to stay after he is gone. These scenes could become arduous to watch, but the film’s constant portrayal of the already beautiful scenery helps the viewer stay engaged in between more important scenes.

Much of the film is identical to the original short film that the feature is based off, with subtle changes for length and breadth of story including the addition of the Aboriginal people. Despite the changes and additions, the film still comes across as complete and not just a cheap adaptation of the short. This can be attributed to the use of the original writer and co-director Yolanda Ramke and original co-director Ben Howling being allowed to take their original short and build it into a feature film in the same roles.

Overall, “Cargo” offers breath of fresh air among zombie films by focusing on the character development instead of the gore and asking the more difficult questions about how far someone would go to protect their loved ones. This film, while not designed for gorey, action zombie flick lovers, will find a home among a wide variety of audiences looking for a smart, original zombie movie.

 

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