There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
2020 Netflix Halloween Countdown
As crazy as it is to believe, it is already October 2020—it has been a bizarre year, for sure. For the past three years, I have been spending October watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will include a table that ranks these movies from best to worst. This year will be my fourth year doing this, and I plan on publishing a new review each day. Some will be from movies that I have reviewed before, but there will be some new movies on here is well. So if you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!
Australia has been hit by an apocalyptic plague. You are infected if an infected person bites you. If that happens, you have about 48 hours until you die, after which you rise as a mindless, hungry monster that wants nothing but to eat people. It is a horrific plague, and the 48 hours between being infected and dying is gruesome, making it so that it becomes harder to carry on as the end of the 48 hours draw closer.
The plague has turned Australia into a post-apocalyptic nightmare, but the few survivors remain hopeful. Andy (Martin Freeman) has just lost his wife, and has now been bitten himself. He knows the fate that awaits him in 48 hours, but he has a bigger problem. It was just him, his wife, and their infant daughter. Now that his wife is gone and he only has 48 hours left himself, Andy is on a desperate mission to find someone who will be willing to take care of his daughter once he is gone.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Premise (+5pts)
Martin Freeman (+8pts)
The Hunters (+2pts)
Pro: The Premise (+5pts)
There have been so many zombie movies and television series that it is almost deserving of its own genre. Most of these stories end up being, more or less, the same, predictable story. However, every once in awhile, one comes along that tries to do something different. Movies like Zombieland and Sean of the Dead have provided comedic takes on a familiar story, and then there are stories like The Walking Dead, which has provided a story that is more focused on humanity’s never-ending fight with itself than it is focused on the zombies. There are, of course, other examples of unique zombie stories (too many to list them all here), and Cargo is one such story.
The movie starts, and Andy’s countdown starts soon after. The story is about a man who knows his fate is to die in 48 hours, but he is currently all that his daughter has left. He is on a desperate mission to find someone who will take his daughter in once he dies. However, there is not much of a selection left. He is desperate to find someone, sure, but he also wants to find someone good, who he knows will keep her safe. The man is desperate, and his mission was really easy to get behind. I thought that the overall plot suffered from some focus issues, but the premise was solid.
Con: Focus (-4pts)
There were a number of side storylines and characters throughout this movie. It was not that I disliked any of these storylines, I just thought that there were too many, such that they cumulatively drew focus away from the main storyline for too long. This was supposed to be a zombie movie, with a uniquely simple premise. It was supposed to be a movie about a man trying to get his daughter to safety before he dies.
It was supposed to be a dramatic character story, and while it was, to an extent, these side characters and side storylines pulled focus away from Andy’s dramatic story. I really think that either Thoomi and the hunters, or Vic’s stories would have been fine. Maybe in a series, the filmmakers could have gotten all of this in there while still properly focusing on Andy’s story. However, having both of these side stories in a movie’s relatively short runtime made the story feel a bit cluttered. As a result, I thought they distracted too much from what the movie should have been, a simple and dramatic character story about Andy’s mission.
Pro: Martin Freeman (+8pts)
Martin Freeman is great, so I was really excited to see him tackle this dramatic character story. The movie had some issues with focus, but the movie was at its absolute best when Martin Freeman got to sink his chops into this character. The character has a simple mission, but it is certainly a dramatic one. You really get a sense of this character’s fear and desperation, and Martin Freeman deserves a ton of credit for that.
Andy is driven to provide a life for his daughter, while also dealing with the grief of having lost his wife, while also coming face-to-face with his own mortality. The character’s mission is a simple one, but there is so much going on in this characters head. As I said before, the movie has some focus issues, so it is not like this character is all drama all the time. However, this actually works in this character’s favor, for the most part. This made the dramatic moments stand out, and I really enjoyed watching how effectively Martin Freeman delivered in these moments.
Con: Vic (-3pts)
It was not that I hated this character, but he was an almost comically generic zombie movie antagonist. I do not want to say exactly what he did, but why do so many zombie stories, with human antagonists, have antagonists just like this guy? To make this one-dimensional character even less effective, the things he did were not nearly as bad as other zombie story antagonists that have come before. The way he viewed and treated other human characters was despicable, but I have seen several crueler versions of this character before. This made this character‘s behavior less impactful, because I have seen other characters do much, much worse. For a movie that was supposed to tell a unique story in a familiar genre, the filmmakers made a weird choice to deliver a mild version of a generic antagonist.
Pro: The Hunters (+2pts)
I liked these characters, but I really wanted to see more of them. They are a group of survivors who treat zombie killing as somewhat of a nine-to-five job. Their goal is to rid Australia of the undead, by going out in groups and hunting zombies on a regular basis. The group was cool and interesting when they were on-screen, but I really would have liked to have seen more of them. This could have actually made the ending of the movie more impactful as well, but I do not want to give that away.
Cons: Thoomi (-3pts)
This character played a pretty crucial part of Andy’s story. She was essential to the setup of his story, and she was essential to the ending. Unfortunately, we never learn much about her story. The character does not speak much, and while the actress did a great job showing that this character had been through some trauma of her own, we never learn about what that is. We know she lives with pain, and we know she is running away from something, for some reason, but we never learn what happened to her. I wanted to like this character, but there was nothing to connect with. I felt like Thoomi had an interesting story that the filmmakers never told, and giving the character more on-screen character development would have gone a long way in making me care about her involvement in Andy’s story.
Grade: B- (80pts)
Cargo was a dramatic character story about a man, Andy, trying to save his daughter after a zombie apocalypse has devastated Australia. He has been bitten, has 48 hours left to live, but needs to find someone to take care of his daughter. The movie was at its absolute best when the focus was on Andy's imminent demise, and his desperation to find salvation for his daughter. The character has a dramatic story, and Martin Freeman was an absolute pleasure to watch in this role.
Unfortunately, the movie suffered from some focus related issues. It felt like there were two many side characters and side storylines for a movie of not even two hours. The side characters that could have worked well, got too little development (such as Thoomi and the hunters), and the side characters that did not work well got more screentime than they deserved (such as Vic). The movie had a lot going for it, and I ended up liking it enough. It was a strong character story about a man trying to save his daughter, but it had some focus related issues, with side storylines that distracted from the strong premise.
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