THE RETURNED – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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In a slightly alternate universe to our own, the world has been coping with a zombie plague with a retroviral drug that keeps the infection at bay in those who carry the virus. It’s a clear parable for HIV/AIDS: the first outbreak occurred in the early 80s, the retroviral was first created — from live (undead?) protein harvested from full-blown zombies — in the 1990s, and today being one of the “Returned” is chronic but manageable… as long as an infected gets the medication daily. But fear of and prejudice toward the Returned never really abated, and it is being stoked once again thanks to rumors that the retroviral is running out: ironically, the drug’s effectiveness is the problem, because a lack of zombies means a lack of sources for the required protein. Doubly ironic: within a day of the drug running out, the millions of Returned will become zombies. Read more>>

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).