"As totalitarian-minded ideological blocs congeal on both the left and right, the idea of an apocalypse caused by group-thinking zombies out for fresh blood becomes ever more terrifying with each passing day. Case in point is Cargo, a feature-length version of a viral Australian short film about a father and a daughter alone in the Outback against a legion of the living dead. English actor Martin Freeman is the binding that grounds this survival epic amid a terrifying zombie thriller".
"The Emo Zombie wave is here, and Cargo is one of the best entries, with Martin Freeman powering the drama as a father searching the Australian outback for a safe haven that will take his infant daughter - and he's only got 48 hours to do it before he, too, becomes a flesh eater. Cargo hits a lot of familiar zombie tropes (end of the world, dramatic acts of self-sacrifice, morally bankrupt people turning into savage opportunists when society falls) but directors Yolanda Ramke (who also wrote the screenplay) and Ben Howling add enough fresh details to make their zombiepocalypse stand out. And thanks to an excellent lead turn from Freeman, it's also touching enough to leave you in tears".
"It’s an unseasonably cold spring evening in Manhattan and the Tribeca Film Festival theatre is over-capacity for the international premiere of Cargo, the Australian zombie movie starring British actor Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office). Cargo is the biggest genre film at this year’s festival and its basic premise – zombies roaming the Australian outback – has piqued the interest both of industry heavyweights and New York movie geeks. Tickets to the premiere disappeared quickly."
"For a certain kind of horror purist, Cargo denies the expectations of the genre. It's not an especially scary movie. It is, however, a moody, atmospheric movie, replacing scares with a nearly overwhelming sense of sadness. If that's not enough for you, then at least be sated by the excellent FX work. Here, zombies present as victims of debilitating illness: a waxen, carious fluid seeps from their eyes and mouths, which is suitably nauseating in the stead of workaday splatter. All the same, Cargo is never half as stomach-churning as it is simply devastating".
"For undead die-hards, the fact that this zombie movie stars Martin Freeman will be reason enough to watch — but those who have found themselves overfed on the genre might also consider giving it a shot. That’s because Yolanda Ramke, who wrote the screenplay and directed the film with Ben Howling, offers fresh settings and a compelling character. Mr. Freeman plays a father who gets bitten, and who must race against the onset of his illness to bring his young daughter to safety."
"The subtext of the film is the ruination of the land and its potential renewer in Aboriginal hands. It's remarkably tense and affecting, with Geoffrey Simpson's photography of our wide, brown land one of the key assets. All the performances are fabulous. Martin Freeman: stoic as the protective father, and young Simone Landers really impressive as Thoomi. Anthony Hayes does 'bad guy' so well - you can almost feel the malevolence seeping from his pores - and it's always beautiful seeing Gulpilil on screen. The music is at times a bit insistent, but it certainly ramps up the tension. Dany Cooper's and Sean Lahiff's editing is seamless. Ultimately, this is a compassionate film; its final scenes are really quite moving. It's a fine expansion of an original idea".
"This weekend, the latest Sad Zombie Movie hits Netflix: Cargo, which stars Martin Freeman as a man roaming the Australian outback with his infant daughter strapped to his back, trying to evade the prowling undead — and to get his baby to safety before he himself turns cannibal. It’s a thoughtful film about the limitlessness of a father’s love, with pesky zombies present to propel the story forward. In honor of the ennui-ridden movie, Vulture’s unpacking ten of our favorite emo zombie films, categorized based on your particular brand of existential terror."
"Mr. Freeman, the adept comic actor, is always good playing an ordinary joe, and here he portrays one in an extraordinary jam. The movie depicts his character's heroism without creating a "white savior" tale; instead, it advocates for community and community action".
Directors Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling talk about their experience directing their first feature film.
"I love it when genre films keep their supernatural strand on the periphery of the narrative, where it's woven in to evoke context and stakes, but it's a case of less is more, and it's the beating human heart of the story that commands the spotlight. My co-director, Ben, and I wanted to experiment with our own take on that with Cargo."
Deadline: ‘Cargo’s Martin Freeman Talks Baby-Carrying Zombies In Australia’s First Netflix Original Feature — Tribeca Studio
“That was around the time that The Walking Dead was in its zenith, and we were just really interested in dabbling in the zombie genre and seeing if there was something a little bit fresh that we could bring to that,” Ramke said, sitting down at Deadline’s Tribeca Studio with Howling, producer Kristina Ceyton and star Martin Freeman. “It all came out of this image of a zombie with a baby on its back.”
Cargo team: writer/co-director Yolanda Ramke, co-director Ben Howling, star Martin Freeman, and producer Kristina Ceyton (NB: producer Sam Jennings not pictured).
(Portrait by: Erik Tanner)
"Packed with social commentary on environmentalism and Australia’s own fraught history with its Aboriginal community, “Cargo” is a refreshing twist on a familiar genre trope, filled with big scares and tearful moments."
"Like A Quiet Place, Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke's addition to the beware-the-infected subgenre doubles nicely as a parental paranoia parable. It also gives Freeman a lovely showcase for his talent, as he cycles through caring, cautious and reluctantly carnivorous modes."