Back in May, Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke's Cargo, a refreshing and character-driven zombie flick, arrived on Netflix. I absolutely loved the film and when I found out that Umbrella Entertainment would be releasing it on Blu-ray, I knew I had to add it to my collection!
Cargo follows Andy (Martin Freeman) as he races across the Australian outback in an attempt to save his daughter, Rosie. The world has fallen to and unforeseen zombie virus that causes a resin-like substance to ooze from the infected's eyes and mouth, and obviously crave human flesh. After tragically losing his wife, Kay (Susie Porter) to the virus, Andy is bitten and has only 48 hours to get his baby to safety before turning into the very thing he's fought to avoid. As they trek across the barren land, Andy and Rosie come in contact with a few survivors, including Vic (Anthony Hayes), a "hunter" who's taken refuge at an oil field with with Lorraine (Caren Pistorius), a woman he’s claimed as his "wife". That situation doesn't end well but it leads Andy to meeting Thoomi (Simone Landers), a young Aboriginal girl who may be Rosie's only hope for salvation.
Howling and Ramke did an exceptional job with creating a fresh zombie apocalypse experience. Instead of entirely focusing on the zombie threat, the filmmakers shine a spotlight on inhumanity and how terrible mankind can be without societal constraints. There's an insanely chilling moment in which Andy sees a family celebrating a child's birthday, his joy of seeing other people is quickly erased by the father flashing a gun, making it known that he shouldn't attempt contact. This is the first of many haunting moments in the film.
Don't get me wrong though, zombies are still a terrifying and very dangerous aspect of Cargo. Throughout the film, you never feel that Andy and crew are truly safe. Zombies are seen lurking in the distance or in camera blind spots, proving a sense of dread and unease. I'd like to mention that the special effects, though not overly gory, are terrific and effective.
What's so refreshing about Cargo is that it doesn't trap itself within the typical zombie film tropes. At it's core, it's a heartfelt and suspenseful tale of survival. The best comparison I can give is 2009's The Road, both film's shed their genre cliches for tales of hope and keeping the dream of civilization alive. Cargo really shines in terms of cast, with everyone involved delivering pitch perfect performances, especially Freeman. There's so much to admire about Cargo and even thought the film does stumble at times in terms of pacing, it's a prime example that a zombie film can break your heart and terrify you along the way.
As previously mentioned, Umbrella Entertainment have given Cargo an well-deserved home video release. The Blu-ray features gorgeous 1080p picture and crystal clear 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The highlight of the release is most certainly the included bonus content. We get an in-depth featurette with Howling and Ramke as they talk about transforming the original 7-minute short into a full feature and the goals they wanted to achieve with the film. There's and interesting featurette that focuses on the film's combat, in addition to various interview with cast and crew. The disc even features the original short film from Tropfest 2013.
Being that Cargo is only available exclusively on Netflix in the States, I can't recommend this release enough to fans of the film! Buy your copy from Umbrella Entertainment today.