Cargo (2017) Poster

(I) (2017)

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A zombie film with heart
brisvegan197125 May 2018
I read some of the negative reviews of this film before watching it. I almost avoided it for that reason but I'm so glad I didn't. It's a great film, well written and acted, perfectly staged in various locations of the Australian outback to complement the characters and situations they find themselves in. I felt it conveyed realistic human dilemmas and heart, and brought something new to the genre. Forget the naysayers, do yourself a favour and experience this film.
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First Zombie film that's moved me to tears
amber-540-73570921 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not normally a fan of zombies - they're just too zombie like for my liking. So I tend to avoid zombie movies. But this film flipped my perception of them by telling the story of the gradual deterioration of a decent family man struggling to protect his family, into a murderous flesh eating single dad. Despite this ridiculous concept, it was done very convincingly, Martin Freeman giving a moving and realistic performance helped enormously by his obvious connection with the babies playing his daughter. The setting was stunning and the social relevance of the relationships between whites and indigenous folk was thought provoking and uplifting. I jolly well enjoyed this film!
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These reviews are from movie snobs!
abbyeb9723 May 2018
Some of the reviews here are extremely harsh on this movie. This movie is an adaptation of a 7 minute short film, was produced by netflix, didn't have a huge budget, and they still managed to create a fansastic film with incredible acting and a heartwarming, if tragic, storyline. This is not an oscar worthy film and wasnt created under the same standers as some of these comments seem to believe, but it was definitely worth the watch. If you want an exciting, emotional story about a parent's devotion to his child amidst the end of the world, give this movie a shot!
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Cargo: Flawed yet wondrous
Platypuschow29 December 2018
I'd heard very mixed things about Cargo, the one consistent thing said was that the film was sad.

Martin Freeman puts in arguably a career best performance in a zombie movie of all things! Telling the story of one mans quest to find a new home for his baby daughter before it's too late.

Now I'm a zombie movie lover but when it comes to "Alternative" zombie films I tend to be very disappointed in them. For example The Girl With All The Gifts (2016) and Maggie (2015) which were films I was really looking forward to but I felt let down by.

Cargo comes under the same category yet despite some glaring flaws it manages to overcome, is a truly enjoyable movie and an emotional rollercoaster of a ride.

An Australian Netflix movie it looks wonderful, goes for the realistic approach to a common (If overplayed) horror sub genre and tells a tour-de-force tale that Freeman knocks out of the park.

It has an odd number of flaws, head scratching moments and questionable pacing decisions that prevent it from truly being something special. But these things cannot take away from the fact that Cargo is a great film.

The Good:

Excellent performance by Freeman

Looks great

Original concept

The Bad:

Some frustrating writing decisions

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

I'm not crying you're crying

When a movie makes me care about a kid, it's performed a miracle and deserves praise!
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28 days since I was this impressed
stacey-grainger118 May 2018
I'm no movie critic, but this movie had everything I wanted and more. Clever, genuinely believable and a stunning performance from Martin Freeman. If you want an intelligent movie about what might happen if the world had a pandemic without lots of unnecessary bloody gore, this is right up there.
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mohammedbojlaia19 May 2018
Hey, you.Yes,you, stop reading the reviews and watch the damn movie :) it's not an Oscar movie ,but it's pretty good.
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A surprisingly powerful genre film.
Councillor300418 May 2018
As much as I usually enjoy horror movies, the zombie sub-genre has never been one I'm particularly fond of. Except for classic films such as "Night of the Living Dead" and Raimi's "Evil Dead" movies, or modern entries into the genre such as "Shaun of the Dead" or "Train to Busan", I have never seen any outstanding zombie films which stood out from the crowd. However, this year's "Cargo", an Australian indie based on a 2013 short film and starring Martin Freeman, succeeded in its attempt to do just that: stand out from the crowd.

With a tense atmosphere, a well-written plot and breathtaking cinematography, "Cargo" is better than the average thriller in the way it focuses on its main character and creates sympathy with him to allow the viewer to actually become interested in the film's eventual outcome. The premise, featuring zombies in a post-apocalyptic Australia, is as important as the development of Martin Freeman's character, and the combination of both aspects ultimately allowed this film to turn into something surprisingly original in a genre which I thought had nothing original left anymore.

Some sloppy editing now and then might be my only criticism about the film. Freeman was a great choice for the leading actor; the film was visually gorgeous to watch; the plot was filled with interesting and unpredictable twists (even if you've seen the short film) - in short, I loved the experience I had while watching it. I don't think everybody will; "Cargo" surely is restricted by the limitations of its genre and will leave some viewers disappointed, and that's completely fine - I only hope its Netflix release will allow "Cargo" to see the wide audience it absolutely deserves.
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Awesome original Aussie zombie flick!
TheTopDawgCritic7 September 2018
This is not your run of the mill typical zombie flick. It's much more than that.

All cast performed exceptionally well especially the Rosie twin babies Finlay and Nova Sjoberg, and newcomer young actress Simone Landers who portrayed Thoomi.

The directing by Ben Howling was great, the original concept story by novice writer/director Yolanda Ramke was awesome, but her screenwriting was a little weak with some obvious plot issues and omissions or maybe just bad editing.

Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable and refreshing take on the zombie genre and considering this was an non-Hollywood production but instead a low budget Aussie film.

A well deserved 8/10 from me.
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Not a horror movie. But an amazing movie
rafvanhaver16 June 2018
I love zombie movies. I've seen 'em all.

But this is not a horror movie.

If you're looking for a horror movie, nope. All the bad reviews are from people who expected one. Fair enough.

This is not a horror movie.

This movie is about a father, a wife, and a baby trying to survive.

I cried my ass off at the end. I don't like drama movies, I don't like pishposh movies. I'm a full grown man that likes his zombies rotten and dangerous.

This, however, is not a horror movie, made me cry like a baby, and I absolutely loved it.

This movie is amazing. 10/10.

Unless you want a horror movie, which it isn't.
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Wow, Pretty Darn Good
neener370718 May 2018
When I saw the trailer I was a little weary about this film. I wasn't sure if it would suck like many other indie epidemic survival movies that have been released in the last 5 years. But thankfully I was not right, this film was very good and not your typical infection film. Its about a couple and their infant child dealing with the end of civilization, where a massive epidemic sweeps across the land. I found this to be less about the disease and more about the relationship between parent and child, and the parent doing absolutely anything to help there baby. This really comes through in the film, you really feel the desperation and love, that often is very intense. Very emotional and had me on the edge of my seat a few times. Not to mention the great acting that only adds to the intensity of any given scene. I've always loved Martin Freeman, another great performance from him.

The cinematography is absolutely wonderfully done, and is complemented by the beautiful Australian outback. Whoever did the location scouting for this deserves more than A+. You could almost feel the heat, the thirst, the dryness. I cant describe how well the film portrays helplessness and desperation in such times as a massive epidemic, the emotions come through perfectly. I felt connected to the characters, as little as they are, and I was interested until the end of the film. I also worried it may become too slow, but even in the "slow" parts were interesting and kept me invested in the story and characters. I really was surprised how much I liked this film, it was a welcome change of pace from the typical Walking Dead rip-off junk.

Watch it.
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Quality production completely founded on stupid and unbelievable behavior.
S_Soma19 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Simply put, CARGO is a zombie picture whose focus is the emotional and interpersonal relationships of the characters surrounding a father's desperate attempts to get his daughter to safety in the context of the inhospitable Australian outback. It's a race against the clock as the father himself is infected and he will soon be the greatest threat of all to his own daughter.

Relative to most of the traditional criteria whereby movies are adjudged, CARGO would rate fairly high. The filmography is excellent, the acting is above average, the movie has a few "name brand" actors that improve the movie by their contributions, the filming locations are eye-catching, good music, and so on.

Additionally, the overall story arc isn't bad: a determined fight of a father to save his infant daughter in the face of tall odds and desperate circumstances were almost everything, including the father himself, constitutes an increasing threat.

CARGO even has the politically correct angle promulgating the notion that white males are the worst monsters of all, even more deadly than zombies, which so many people seem to find so attractive. Personally, I couldn't be more sick of it, but it must be popular with audiences since it's practically ubiquitous to every movie made nowadays. So there's that.

Where CARGO falls down, and very badly, are the individual plot elements that set the movie on its forward path. CARGO relies on the tired old tropes of characters behaving in unrealistic ways and with extreme stupidity in order to get the plot ball rolling.

As examples:

The 3 primary characters, as the movie begins, are a husband and wife and their infant daughter. They are living on a houseboat-like boat traveling down a medium-size river within the overall context of a zombie postapocalypse. On the face of it, it seems like a pretty good set up. Their boat-on-a-river situation keeps them safely away from the zombies even to the point that as viewers we're not even aware that there ARE zombies until well into the movie since our protagonists are so well separated from them we don't see them.

Shortly after the movie begins, our protagonists encounter a wrecked yacht and drop anchor nearby. And then both the mother and father, in fairly rapid succession, become unaccountably stupid. First the father rows over to the wrecked yacht, apparently without informing his wife, for the purposes of scavenging for supplies. Why would anyone ever do that? He doesn't even seem to be armed. If anything happened to him there would be no one available to back him up nor would his wife even know where he was or what had happened to him or where to start looking for him. Who would ever behave in this way given this zombie apocalypse situation?

Subsequently discovering the nifty things her husband has returned with, the wife decides to go on her own little reconnaissance mission to the yacht, ALSO without informing her spouse and ALSO without any weapons. And, completely predictably, she gets chomped by a zombie, initiating the chain of events that causes the story to unfold and to create the dire circumstances the father must overcome for the course of the balance of the picture.

The first the husband/father finds out about what his wife has been doing and what has happened to her is by noticing the collection of bloody footprints left by his wife after she has returned to the houseboat; the communication between the married couple is THAT bad and they are THAT willing to expose themselves to unnecessary deadly risks. The whole emotive point of the movie is the desperate lengths to which parents will go to save their offspring when, in reality, the greatest threat to the infant in THIS movie is the astounding stupidity and incomparable incompetence of the baby's own parents.

In another scene, the husband, his badly wounded and almost certainly dying wife, and the all-important infant daughter are driving along an outback dirt road in hopes of bringing the wife to medical attention (although we already know that it is unlikely to be of any use), and the husband pays so little attention to driving the vehicle that he is "surprised" by a zombie wandering in the middle of the road and he reacts by swerving OFF the road and directly into a huge tree, thoroughly destroying the critically important vehicle and running his wife through and through with about a 6 inch diameter tree branch. After taking a good look at the complete mess he's made, he promptly passes out, giving his wife just enough time to make the zombie transition so that when he wakes up she can chomp him a good one to start the clock running down on his attempts to save the infant before he himself turns.

Who in their right mind in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, tasked with trying to save his own poor wife and infant daughter, behaves in this way? Even if the husband wasn't sure it was a zombie in the middle of the road, his priority was of course his wife and child, not some idiot in the middle of the road. Why would he risk the survival of himself and everyone he cares for for the benefit of some stranger who might be a zombie and was stupid enough to the standing in the middle-of-the-road?

These absolutely idiotic actions by the protagonists are literally the exact plot points that create the entire course of the movie. In other words, literally everything that happens in the movie is entirely founded on phenomenal stupidity and utterly unbelievable behavior.

For me, these points ruin the entire picture. Why wasn't the same skill and expertise exhibited with the mundane and technical aspects of the picture also applied to the story itself?
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A smart film recommended for lovers of horror and Australiana
andrewbunney9 May 2018
CARGO is an often tense story of a father's quest to get his infant daughter to safety, set in a post-apocalyptic Australian outback ravaged by an untreatable and highly infectious disease. A couple and their baby daughter are on a houseboat on the River Murray in South Australia, but running low on food as they are surrounded by people who have succumbed to a fast-acting disease that leaves its victims as flesh-eating, slow-moving, un-dead. Desperate to find a foster-carer for baby Rose, a glimmer of hope arrives when a young Aboriginal girl who is trying to save her own father comes on the scene.

The landscape is a spectacular mixture of red dirt scrub smoldering with spotfires, the broad river with its cliff banks and majestic rocks and the mountains of the Flinders Ranges. As well as the slow-roaming but relentless zombies who live by the well-established rules of the genre, there are occasional whitefella survivors and a fierce resistance being waged by Aboriginal people who have returned to the bush and formed safe communities.

CARGO was written by Yolanda Ramke and directed by Ramke and Ben Howling with images supplied by master cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson (Shine, The Navigator, Fried Green Tomatoes). CARGO features an outstanding cast led by Brit, Martin Freeman, joined by Susie Porter, David Gulpilil, Natasha Wanganeen and luminous youngster, Simone Landers.

The theme of a deadly disease brings to mind the AIDS epidemic and also new threats such as antibiotic resistance and evolving viruses. The main theme however, is of race relations and respect for the ancient cultures of Australia's first people. The plot plays with reversals of our history to this point, but despite its intelligence and sincerity, always maintains the suspense of the horror genre.

CARGO releases in Australian cinemas on May 17 2018 while, in an Australian-first, the rest of the world will be able to stream CARGO from May 18 via NETFLIX. Cargo is recommended for lovers of horror and Australiana. 4 stars

Andrew Bunney Let's Go to the Pictures 9-11 AM Thursday 3D Radio, Adelaide 937FM & Digital Radio
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feature-length film trapped in the shadow of its 7 minute long progenitor
phenomynouss19 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I had the great fortune of seeing the original short film "Cargo" upon which this film is based on. It is 7 minutes long, and it is exactly as long as it needs to be, telling a short, shocking, compelling story of a man in a zombie apocalypse with an infant child and a zombie bite. He roams around as much as he can, while setting up a contraption with a wooden pole holding some meat in front of his face, which serves to keep his zombie self perpetually moving forward to try to get the meat. In the end, he's shot dead by some other survivors, who then discover the baby and take it to safety.

It was amazing and it made me criy. When I saw that it had been re-made into a full length movie, I thought this is a joke gone too far. But since it was available to me for free, I decided to try it.

I regret it.

One of the best things about the original "Cargo" is that it was incredibly taut and minimalistic. There was very little dialogue, and nothing to distract from the main story of a doomed man trying to save his baby. Due to the need to fill in 105 minutes, this film version necessarily has to pad the hell out of that concept, turning a taut, tension-filled experience into a long, meandering adventure through subplots which end up in some way completely overshadowing the main plot.

"Cargo" 2013 was what it was, and gave us everything we needed. This one gives us far too much, indulging us with a pointless antagonistic plot involving a racist Australian redneck guy who keeps aboriginal people in cages as bait for zombies so he can kill them and loot their bodies, under the impression that once the zombie apocalypse is over, he will have lots of jewelry and consumer electronics and other things looted from the corpses to make himself rich. He also has a "wife" who is actually a woman he's basically kidnapped and keeping hostage because why not go full evil if you're going to add pointless filler.

This subplot keeps droning on and on, taking up so much of the film that it's hard to believe that it's all unfolding over less than 48 hours (as it's been established the zombie virus thing takes 48 hours to fully set in, and the infected have little wristband stopwatches that count down for them). Everything just keeps going on and on and the few characters there are do very little to generate any interest.

Another thing about the original "Cargo" is that, due to its short length and strict focus, with almost no dialogue, it basically lets us project ourselves onto the role of the Father. We empathize with him because of his very basic and human plight, and he does everything he can with what little he has and it's brilliant.

Here, we get to see again and again the personality of the Father character, and we get to see just how much of a complete idiot he is. From the very beginning, he's dorkily waving to a group of survivors across the river from him as though it were a sunday morning picnic and not the effing zombie apocalypse. Later when his wife is bitten, he needlessly prolongs her suffering long after she's accepted her fate, trying to reach a hospital that is out of the way of their escape route to do basically nothing other than waste time.

All throughout the film he keeps bumbling about, saying and doing stupid things, getting other people killed, and needlessly wasting time.

By the time we get to the famous moment from the short film where the Father makes a "raw meat on a stick" contraption to lure his zombie self into perpetually moving forward, he's already got another human companion with him he can hand his baby off to, AND he's barely 100 feet away from another group of survivors. There's entirely no reason for his bait contraption, all it serves is to waste time.

Ultimately, that's what the vast majority of this film does; waste time. And it does so to such a degree that any and all of the visceral, emotional intensity of the original film, is entirely evaporated to the point that the short film's iconic image of a zombified man with a baby strapped to his back and a wooden pole with meat on the end, is not a moment of necessity and human ingenuity in a moment of self sacrifice, but a pointless sight gag that serves only to remind you of the far superior short film.
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One of the best 'Zombie' movies I've seen
scottmcdonald-2476018 May 2018
I saw this film on Netflix, not knowing anything about it. I did not have a clue that it was a zombie flick! I was smiling more and more as it slowly became obvious that this was a zombie movie, because i love them! Although it did run through my mind that it might end up as poor as some of the zombie flicks i had seen over the years. But i was pleasantly surprised. This film is not like your standard Z-movies, it runs deeper, the acting is great, the cinematography very good, the whole movie feels quality. It also had me feeling emotional at times. I highly recommend this movie, not just to Z-movie fans, but to anyone who simply likes very good, well written movies.
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A decent zombie flick!
3THEREAL24 May 2018
Cargo is generally enjoyable, but it does manage to drag in small parts. The short film it was based on gets straight to the point and hits at what the heart of this story is. Sometimes, that aspect is lost when you stretch it to a feature-length film, which is what I feel occurred here. There are a few moments in this film that feel like they are there simply to extend the runtime. This happens at times in road trip stories where not every stop along the way feels natural or meaningful. Cargo still earns the Decent Watch rating, and will certainly be better than some of the more hyped Netflix Originals.
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Soooo tedious and predictable
ackotovicz20 May 2018
I watched this movie because of its good IMDB rating. The positive reviews can only be being posted by production associates! Its really boring, predictable, the zombies are ridiculous and inoffensive, the survivors are weak and stupid. I watched until the end just to see ig it could get better, but it didnt. Dont waste your time!
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Tries something different, forgets the basics of cinema.
uralme19 May 2018
I remember when "Stake Land" came out of nowhere and delivered an unexpected good Zombie movie. I checked the ratings and hoped this one could be same. Despite having some cool ideas integrated to the genre, everything felt so dull and the story seemed too weak. I read on the IMDB that the director had filmed a SHORT film years ago with the same scenario. He probably had success and decided it should be a feature-length.So in my opinion, there is basically less excuse for having a bad script when you re-make something. What I mean is when you are in a post-apocalyptic world with dangerous things all around you and your family. You don't go out LA-LA-LA, lets act stupid so the audience can get some tension. You get your script right. You have to prepare them, you have to make them believe that the threat is real. Think about John Hillcoat's "The Road" where survival meant trusting no one, hiding as much as possible, keeping your eyes on the road! No jump scares, no zombies but you felt uneasy on every single minute. In Cargo, there is no essence of this. Right into the movie at the first minutes, everyone forgets about the basic rules of survival. More to it, they don't seem like they're trying to live in a hard environment. Feels more like a spoiled couple trying to avoid unwanted visitors in a wedding ceremony. In general the movie was dull in story, badly directed and had bad acting.
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A very dull, ambling zombie flick
stuart-berrisford20 May 2018
Zombie movies have always had some level of metaphor, as a backdrop to a story. Early zombie movies drew from McCarthyism, later consumerism, and no we have colonial guilt. Part of the movie wants to tell a story of how the indigenous people take back the land, and the colonial people are wiped out. You don't really connect with freeman's character, who seems some sort blundering nomad who creating a lot of his own problems.

My suggestion with this film, would be to give it a wide birth. Unless you want a large spoonful of social justice, and a dash of guilt thrown in. It's a garbage movie, and you can spend 104 minutes watching paint dry or something more interesting!
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Pleasantly suprised
onefith-5399019 May 2018
I hate Zombie flicks so I was amazed to find myself totally engaged in this movie. Martin Freeman did not dissapoint with his acting but it was more than just good acting. The combination of beautiful scenery complmented by quality filming and very well thought out script produced something realistic and classic.
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It's decent, if unremarkable.
Sleepin_Dragon31 March 2019
I am a little surprised by all the accolades, and the excellent reviews this film received, it isn't bad, it's just slow, and it pains me to say it, but just another zombie story, albeit one that is incredibly well made, and superbly acted.

I always look for something unique, and a little different in such a highly regarded film, sadly I couldn't see anything, it's watchable, but I found it too slow.

Martin Freeman is terrific, and the best thing about it. It's a decent watch, but there are many better films in this genre. 6/10
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Another Netflix Unoriginal 'Original' Content full of PC Garbage
gustheaffen6 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe the good reviews. First off the story itself is not original! It is just more zombies, people that act completely irrationally and do stupid things and then to add insult to a long boring story where we get the white man is evil and locking up blacks and using them as bait but the blacks save the day at the end. So cliche and just plain bad. Story starts with a couple and their baby living in a zombie apocalypse on a boat floating down a river. The woman basically demands her husband go forage for supplies even though they really don't appear to need them that badly and he goes off into an abandoned boat, takes everything he can safely but she becomes obsessed with him shaving and when he falls asleep with their child she sneaks over to the abandoned boat and of course gets attacked. Fortunately she did get that razor she direly needed! No one protecting a child would be this ridiculous. Then when they decide to go inland to find a hospital (clearly those would still be running - eye roll) they run into more trouble, he has the world's lamest auto accident and manages to get bitten by his wife by basically jamming his arm in her mouth. Now we get to the plot of he has less than 2 days to find someone in this rotting world to take care of his baby. And of course that is when he meets a evil white guy locking up blacks and he frees a child that was locked up and they spend the rest of the time trying to get to the tribe who miraculously found paradise which was literally not far since he only had about 1/2 a day to make it there. Really lame, what I have come to expect from Netflix.
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It was better as a short
mhorg201819 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The short was very well done. Why? Because it was short. If this had been say, 45 minutes long, it might have been worth seeing - as it is, it's dull and slow. I'm not saying every Zombie movie has to be Night of the Living Dead, nor do they have to have gore, but they have to have SOMETHING. This has the usual stupid act - the Father say's early in the movie that once one is bitten, one has 24-48 hours before turning. (I'm actually very tired of every single zombie bite or scratch being fatal), so what happens? Wife gets bitten and bam, does he let her go off to die or turn? Does he kill her, even though HE KNOWS what will happen? No. He keeps her around so she can bite him. Then he has to find someone to take care of their infant baby - who cries her ass off - surprisingly not attracting any zombies. THe rest is the usual. He goes from situation to situation, meeting a young aborigine who helps him out, as well as another white Australian, who is a bastard. The movie just drags. Not a movie I'll ever watch again.
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One of the best storylines for a Z flick top 3 atleast.
tkaine319 May 2018
Definitely a warm heartfelt zombie flick maybe top 3 ever as far as engagement, acting and pace.. Purely brilliant writing and the cast delivered on all levels. This movie didn't hinge on having off the wall non believable characters which was refreshing it maintained clarity by igniting believable characters and responses from beginning to end.. I really don't have any qualms with this film I think in todays hollywood era we want super over the top action and spectacles but this film gives you action but stays in the realm of reality...

I would definitely say make some time to see this one it's a great film.
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Zombie Apocalypse but not gory
NikkoFranco18 May 2018
Now that Netflix has become a major supplier of films and shows its worth it to check many of their offerings as some might come as a surprise. One of these is Cargo.

Land down under as a beautiful backdrop, subdued , shamanic and tempered acting yet the movie still manages to warm our hearts and allows us to sympathize a bit with the anti hero as it shows just how it is, the ugly side of humans when it comes to survival.

Martin Freeman in many of his roles has a natural comic side to HIM. Here he managed to deliver what is required of a father who will do anything for family. Determined but not over the top.
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Pretty bad
GazWatson24 May 2018
I hate films where the characters get themselves into situations by doing stupid and illogical things. And that's pretty much what this entire film is. I love Zombie movies, and I'm a big fan of Martin Freeman, but that couldn't save this rubbish movie.
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