Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Cargo is impressive in developing a picture of the wider world that surrounds this very personal story."

Short but sweet, this is a zombie film with a bit of brain and a lot of heart. A finalist at Tropfest, it follows a young dad who recovers consciousness after a car accident to realise his partner has turned into one of the undead. He successfully manages to retrieve their baby daughter from the car, but he's been bitten and knows that, sooner or later, he too will turn. The film follows his efforts to ensure that the baby will be safe no matter what.

Although it doesn't have many further ideas with which to build on its central premise, Cargo is impressive in developing a picture of the wider world that surrounds this very personal story. Approaching a rural home, our hero doesn't bother to look for its residents. A table covered in the artefacts of a child's birthday party has been abandoned, the cake half eaten. He shows no desire for the food, seeing the rich pickings only as a source of possible entertainment for the baby. Other actions show that he has some idea how long his transformation will take and how his behaviours will change. Even the speedy way he deals with his partner's change shows us that he's already seen plenty of death.

Copy picture

Given all this, it's a shame that the film loses its subtlety at the end, giving way to an excess of sentiment, but this is in part justified by precedent. There's the same sense of searching for humanity in the undead that we've seen in classics like Day Of The Dead. A lot of unanswered questions remain - how long, ultimately, can a crying baby expect to last in a world like this? - but these are perhaps beside the point. Although it doesn't quite have the punch it needs, there's a lot of potential in this little film and it would be great to see it developed into something more substantial.

Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2015
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Cargo packshot
A stranded man who knows he will soon become a zombie concocts a plan to save his baby daughter.

Director: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke

Writer: Yolanda Ramke

Starring: Marcus Newman, Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling, Daniel Foeldes

Year: 2013

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: Australia


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