Cargo may be a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller, but this is not an all-out horror flick. Basing it on their previous short film, directors Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke instead focus on humanity. While this is ultimately a bleak story of a man battling against time to get his baby daughter to safety, the central theme of the main characters is love.
Set in the breathtaking Australian outback, the remoteness and isolation add to the post-apocalyptic doom. The remaining uninfected people are wary and untrusting of one another, as they find themselves surrounded by the staggering walking dead (yes, no runners here). There are some truly creepy moments throughout, including seeing the infected bury their heads in the sand to ‘hibernate’.
Alongside the zombie apocalypse storyline is an interesting look at the impact from both the infected and uninfected white Australians on Aboriginal Australians. Returning back to the ‘old ways’, the Aboriginal characters are shown rather successfully surviving the pandemic, but brutality and racism still bubbles away in white Australian characters like Vic (Anthony Hayes).
That the white male lead (Martin Freeman) comes to desperately rely on a young indigenous girl is a wonderful plot point, with Simone Landers as Thoomi providing a grounding and soul to the film. Freeman and Landers anchor the humanity within Cargo with subtlety and a real sweetness, something not often seen within zombie thrillers. Freeman’s understated style lends itself well to making this film very different to a lot of its contemporaries. It’s also fantastic to see Australian cinema legend David Gulpilil (Rabbit Proof Fence, Crocodile Dundee, The Proposition) take on a magical supporting role.
A refreshing take on a well-worn genre, Cargo contains just enough scares and gore to keep horror fans happy, but through taking an unfamiliar path manages to offer something quite unique.
CAST: Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
DIRECTOR: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke
WRITER: Yolanda Ramke
SYNOPSIS: A post apocalyptic thriller and an emotional story of a father trying to save his child at all costs.