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  • 3.5 out of 5

Cargo - Romero would be proud

Cargo, directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke (who also wrote the script) tells the story of a father in the expansive, desolate Australian outback trying to find safe haven for his family in a very unsafe place. The always likable Martin Freeman stars as Andy Rose. Andy and his wife Kay (Susie Porter) spend their days in a boat making its way up a lazy river in an attempt to outrun a violent pandemic. After tragedy befalls both of them (one quicker than the other), Andy has 48 hours to traverse an unfriendly landscape in search of a new life for his infant daughter, Rosie.

Meanwhile, young Aboriginal tribe member Thoomi (Simond Landers) is trying to keep her infected father away from her tribe who is set on eliminating the zombie threat altogether. Andy and Thoomie’s journeys will coincide in equally uplifting and tragic ways.

What I like about this film is that it establishes its rules and then follows them. Too many films, and not just in the zombie genre, break their own rules for the sake of convenience.

Due to its second act struggles, Cargo would have been better suited to a short film, which makes sense because Cargo was a short film. Howling and Ramke originally produced Cargo as a short film back in 2013. It was only seven minutes and went viral (sorry) shortly after being uploaded to YouTube. The short is superior to the feature because as we’re starting to increasingly discover: the shorts usually are.

Make no mistake: this is well produced but visually gross movie. It’s hard not to imagine the level of hell it must have been to film in the hot Australian outback with flies swirling around the blood and honeycomb-like pus caked to the actors’ faces. Amid all that ugliness is a lovely, reassuring notion that the human need for connection and relationships will survive the apocalypse…even if most humans won’t.

Check it out on Netflix.

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