The Returned (2014)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Directed by Manuel Carballo, THE RETURNED is set in a post-zombie world where a treatment called the "Return Protein" can stop the spread of the virus if injected quickly after infection, but cannot cure it. With daily injections, the "Returned" are able to live relatively normal lives, but with brutal attacks at the hands of Anti-Return groups and rumors that protein stock is running low, the world is again on the brink of chaos. In the midst of this turmoil are Alex (Kris Holden-Reid) and Kate (Emily Hampshire), a young, successful and enviable couple that are hiding a long held secret - Alex is Returned. Suspicious that a government order for all the Returned to report to a secure medical facility 'for their own safety', the couple flees, taking with them all the doses of "Return Protein" they have. Now in a race against the clock and few places to turn, they must face their worst fears and come to grips with the reality that if they are neither human nor zombies, who exactly are the Returned? --(C) levelFilm
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
levelFILM

Cast

Shawn Doyle
as Jacob
Barry Flatman
as Hospital Chief
Paulino Nunes
as Detective Cawl
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Critic Reviews for The Returned

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (6)

This is a serious, austere film that feels as if it's barely restraining the B-movie within. In the end, it fights itself to a draw.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Carballo also fails to capitalize on the climate of paranoia the script attempts to engender throughout.

Full Review… | March 27, 2014
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Carballo offsets the lack of surprise with such efficient suspense builders as propulsive music, ambient noise, realistic lighting and judicious handheld camerawork while efficiently explaining the science and politics behind what is happening.

Full Review… | February 13, 2014
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

Pivotal scenes dive too deep into melodrama, and there's something inevitably sterile about a script that includes only scenes that propel the plot or provide obvious foreshadowing.

Full Review… | February 13, 2014
NPR
Top Critic

Though an admirable shake-up of the typically overbearing, munch-intensive undead yarn, "The Returned" is still a far cry from the smarts-and-shocks zombie allegories George Romero mastered.

Full Review… | February 13, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Carballo squeezes an impressive amount of exposition into news reports and medical briefings, but Holden-Ried's and Hampshire's performances are what ground the film ...

Full Review… | February 11, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Returned

½

Not a usual zombie movie: this is a more cerebral attempt to tackle a zombie apocalypse in a measured, medical manner and allow the tainted to return to society as contributing members. As you might imagine, this takes all of the best moments out of a zombie movie. I was able to figure out nearly all plot points before they unfolded. Only a couple of decent scenes.

Don Schick
Don Schick

I thought this would be another walking dead knockoff but it really wasn't. It was predictable, but a good movie.

Sherry Rogers-Levoy
Sherry Rogers-Levoy

Having mixed thoughts about this film. Not sure if I thought this was a very good movie or a 'very good' good movie. I realize that sounds strange to say, and I've reviewed films like this on here before. I don't even know how to explain it, they're just good movies that ALMOST was very good but it didn't quite make it. And I think that's what this film is, I think it is a very smart "zombie" film that doesn't really rely on the zombie cliches and tropes. The film really is a love story at its core, as you get to see how Kate's dedication to Alex, to being by his side and fighting to stock up on his injections, getting them on the side when she isn't supposed to, that only stops the spread of the disease, it doesn't cure it. I thought that was very well done and the acting was certainly solid enough from the leads so it feels like they've really been a couple for 6 years and they're really committed to each other. I don't really think the film 'fails' at anything really, because the film covers the societal effects the returned have had and how they're activist groups pro and anti-returned. That's all well and good, it's not done in the most complex or comprehensive manner, but it's good that the film asks these questions and it, very obviously, has ties to real-world problems. I think the pacing, at times, doesn't really make the film that easy to watch, but the characters and the writing were strong so that wasn't much of a problem, for me at least. There's very little use of gore, it is there, but it's very minimal and that helps it stand out among the pack. And this isn't even as much of a horror film as much as it is a tragic love story, it's just one that uses something that's associated with horror films. But the framing of the story is anything but horror. Granted there are some horrific elements to the story, like how some people would betray friends they've known for YEARS in order to extend their own life, if even for a little while. So the real horror in the film comes from the inhumanity of others towards that are living with this disease and the survival instincts of others that would drive them to do stuff they normally wouldn't do. That was another part of the film I liked, the 'horror' in the story doesn't come from the zombies themselves. The ending has that same same vibe that The Mist, in that it's a very dark ending and it's something that the character will have to live with their entire lives, but it doesn't really work as well in this film. It feels more melodramatic, instead of something very dark as it was in The Mist. That's about it really, this is a good film with a very smart story and some solid performances. Not something that's worth going out of your way to see, but it is a good rental.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

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