There's a lot to fear in zombies. Many people - myself included - fear death, and zombies are more or less death personified. They are walking apparitions and manifestations of a life since passed. Not only that, but despite being reanimated they are still not living, for they lack one key aspect of humanity which is free will and independent thought. Zombies have no thoughts and no mind of their own. So not only do they represent the end of life, they also represent loss of independence and free will - the capability to control your own thoughts and actions replaced by pure brutal instincts. The argument could be made that vampires too in their own way represent these things. I recommend Werner's Herzog brilliant remake of Nosferatu as viewing for reference.

Often times, in zombie movies zombies themselves aren't the main focus. Instead, the focus is on the effect that a zombie epidemic has on the people left alive. When society crumbles and people are left to fend for themselves, zombie movies often take advantage of this by showing that the zombies are ultimately not the greatest threat to survivors, but the survivors themselves. The fear of death and an instinct of self-preservation leads to selfish acts where people sacrifice each other in order to save themselves; instead of banding together to fight a common threat, they ultimately tear themselves apart way before the zombies can do so. That's where a film like Cargo comes off as a little bit different.

Cargo is a seven-minute Australian short film set during a zombie apocalypse. The film was entered into the Tropfest short film festival where it was one of the finalists in 2013. The short centers around a man whose wife has turned into a zombie, leaving him alone with his infant daughter. The man finds that he's been bitten as well. Thus, his main concern becomes getting his daughter to safety before he turns and threatens the life of the one he cares for the most.

Instead of focusing on how mankind tears itself apart, Cargo focuses on how in the face of extreme adversity and a seeming end to civilization as we know it, people are still trying to hold on to their basic humanity by caring for each other. Instead of trying to find a way to cure himself (if there even is such a thing), the short's protagonist makes it his priority to make sure that his daughter will survive and be safe when he is gone. He doesn't care about himself and in fact seems to accept his fate - all he cares about is securing the future and well-being of his daughter.

The father in Cargo is not the only character through whom we see this kind of compassion. When the child is left alone at the end of the short, a group of strangers find her and take her with them. They have no obligations to this child, yet they choose to care for her as if she was their own despite surely needing all the energy they have to fight for their own survival. When many zombie films are filled with death and destruction, Cargo presents love and compassion. And I'd argue there's room for both in the genre.