Any zombie movie worth its salt delivers the by-now-totally-obvious message that people—not zombies—are the true monsters and people—again, not the zombies—will rape, murder, and eat you (not necessarily in that order) when faced with a civilization tumbling headfirst toward the apocalypse.

Let me be clear that Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles (who also directed The Constant Gardener and City of God), is not technically a zombie movie. For one thing, it was based on the book of the same name written by Portuguese author José Saramago—something that can't be said about many zombie movies and no, Diary of the Dead does not count (not a real diary, people).

Intentionally zombie-ish or not, Blindness is a stunning and terrifying film about a mysterious plague infecting the citizens of a nameless European city as one by one they lose their ability to see. The government (oh, it's always the government effing things up, isn't it?) decides to quarantine the newly sightless in an abandoned mental hospital and eventually, as the entire city goes blind and society quickly deteriorates, the inmates are left running the asylum (this is never good).

The near immediate cessation of any and all human decency is deftly handled at a good methodical pace by Meirelles and the subtle, gorgeous performances by Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore (as a blind eye doctor and his seeing wife) gently prod the moviegoer into questioning their own fictional response to such a frightening situation.

It's never made clear why Moore is immune to the blind disease, but through her maternal instincts and an apparently unlimited capacity to endure the hell that is other people, she becomes a moral center for the few decent people left in the hospital and eventually, the heroine of this amazing film. And, at the risk of offending both the director and the author of Blindness, I have to say this was one hell of a good zombie movie.