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Carriers (Review)

Carriers

Carriers (2009)

Directed by Alex and David Pastor

It's New Year's Eve! What better way to end 2009 with a post apocalyptic movie, right? So with my last post of 2009, I bring you my review of Carriers.

Carriers is sorta a uber depressing version of Zombieland without the funny and kinetic moving zombies. There are 4 people (2 dudes and 2 dudettes), they have their own "rules" and they are traveling the US of A to get to a happy place. See what I mean? However, in Carriers it's more realistic and there is no search for twinkies. Also, the "infected" don't want to eat your flesh.

Other than that, it's the same formula. But Paramount Vintage ignored this flick giving it a small release this year whereas Zombieland went global. Carriers is a solid flick and for 90 minutes beats down the every man for himself theme down your throat. Survival of the fittest is the motto in this post apocalyptic world. And because they stayed true to this, it makes quite an effective flick.

But you know what I realized after watching this? If there is EVER a zombie epidemic or a national infection that can't be quarantined, the United States of America is NOT the country you want to be in. We turn into dog eat dog killers and only think of ourselves. Does this happen in the Bahamas?


Boring Plot-O-Matic

Four kids are trying to outrun the end of the world – and each other. No one is safe from the viral pandemic threatening to wipe out the human race. The four friends speed across the Southwestern U.S. to reach a place of safety while facing moral decisions no human should ever be forced to face. They discover that their greatest enemy is not the microbe attacking humanity, but the darkness within themselves.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

So Carriers has rules like Zombieland (5 total compared to the 33 in Z) Let's go through them shall we?

1.) Avoid populated areas at all cost.

The virus in Carriers is never explained and that's a good thing. We get thrown into the movie right smack in the middle as they travel the back roads. All we know when we start our journey with these 4 musketeers is that a virus has wiped out most of humanity and they need the essentials to survive: water, food, bleach and especially gas.

Carriers uses the open country setting well and shows us daytime which makes a infection movie even creepier. I've always thought zombie or virus movies should show us more daytime scenes. Makes us feel we're not safe at all.

2.) If you come into contact with other people, assume they have it.

OK let's introduce our characters. James T. Kirk himself, Chris Pine plays Brian who with his brother Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) his pseudo GF Kate (Emily VanCamp) and Brian's GF Bobby (Piper Perabo) are our road survivors. Brian plays the rogue self appointed leader, Danny the obedient lap dog, Kate plays the damsel and Bobby who hottie with a heart.

The rules comes into play when they meet a father (Christopher Meloni) and his daughter (who has the disease) who need gas but as they follow rule #1, fate brings all of them together. The movie is one long road trip, we hear things about what may or may not be going on and they all end up at an abandoned school searching for a supposed cure.

Carriers is one depressing rest stop after another. The film gives some glimmer of hope, then coughs up and kills it without any remorse. It's this sort of without mercy storytelling that has an abandon all hope attitude.

Also, we get more in depthiness with our characters. The relationship between Brian and Danny is meshed with hostility and love and we get to hear some backstory of their lives before the virus. It's clearly a way to get us to care for these people and even at times dislike them. In many of these type of movies, the flick doesn't have time to let us know anything about our heroes. Instead, it's "Be chased! Run! Shoot in head!". Carriers allows us to get to know these people and all of them are a tad cool once you get to know them.

3.) The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours.

This rule should be combine with #4. So see the #4.

4.) Never touch anything that's not disinfected (or disinfect anything they've touched in the last 24 hours)

So obviously one of them gets infected. It's these moments that are as deeply human as they are real. I remember seeing the lines for the H1N1 vaccines and if you think about it, if there was a shortage, people would just be selfish and probably horde the vaccines. Would you do the same? It's easy to not care for a stranger but could you leave your husband, your wife, your kids just to save yourself?

It's always the same question these virus/zombie movies put to the test. As much as you'd like to think you'd take the high ground and be all Pope-ishly moral, I highly doubt we'd actually be civilized in an uncivilized world.

Carriers tries to answer this with hard truths.

5.) Take what you need and never look back (or the sick are already dead, they can't be saved)

After a confrontation with another survivor group at a country club, our scooby gang see the other end of the spectrum when they are questioned and all their supplies are taken. The ending is completely bleak and is the same tone throughout. No happy endings here, no reenacting Ghostbusters will Bill Murray.

Carriers is as depressing as you can get for a post apocalyptic movie (though I hear The Road is more so). Sure, I can dig a downer ending but I'd hope we'd have some hope of goodness inside all of us. Maybe I'm pessimestic about the human race (shit, it could be because I'm American) but I always thought the idea of an end of the world movie is to show how bad it can get and we can lose all our beliefs, but we can stick to at least one. I am a glass half full sorta guy. I think there are some of us that give a shit about each other.

Am I being naive? Maybe so, but that's why Carriers won't make my Top 20 list. I wanted to think we could be better than we are. It's that damn Star Trek vision of the future I guess.

Overall, Carriers is an effective film of post apocalyptic survival, characters you care about and a live and let die philosophy of who we are.

Wow, I'm totally depressed now. Maybe I'll move to the Bahamas.

Gore-ipedia

Infected ickyness
Virus trauma

Nude-ipedia

Oh I would have paid $5 to see Piper Perabo naked...but she isn't

WTF moment

Brian goes postal on some Christians

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Happy New Year's Eve! Trust me, this is not the flick you want to see going into 2010. But I can see why this was put on many Top 10 lists for 2009. It's a gritty, realistic and depressing look into the infection doomsday genre and doesn't care to give you any happy ending. See this, then see Zombieland. Its total ying and yang.

Carriers comes out on DVD on December 29th. Head over to the official site for more goodies.

Rating:
1/2

Check out the trailer below.



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Excellent review! I agree with a whole lotta your points, especially how strangely effective a daytime horror can be. It's one of my biggest complaints about a lot of modern films that seem to think turning the lights off is the best way to produce any sort of discomfort. Plus, the juxtaposition of the beautiful weather and sunshine with the terrible things happening was really intriguing.

One thing Carriers does really well is establish character without forcing on the exposition. There's no wasted time, but it still manages to work in relationships and development during the disaster.

And as far as the American angle, I can honestly say I've never really thought about that. Other films like 28 Days Later and Time of the Wolf also use the old-strangers-will-kill-you attitude during the apocalypse. I'd hate to think we USAians are THAT much worse than the rest of the world.

I know I'm posting about this like....3 years later, but yes, the Bahamas would also be an "every man for himself" type of place if something like this happened. Unfortunately, this movie was never meant to be "horror' in the traditional sense, it's literally a play by play of what humanity would look like post virus. Every country would be this way, it's not just the U.S. I do some things dealing with disaster prep, and while everyone thinks that after something like this we'd all still be caring poster children for wonderful humanity, that likely won't be the case. Most of the clues come from how some really scary things that aren't even within the realm of epidemic and causing people to devolve and revert back to a very barbaric mentality. Hurricane Katrina had quite a lot of it and that wasn't even a communicable disease.

As for the movie itself, I hated Zombieland and so I can't even draw a similarity between the two beyond the very generic post apocalyptic atmosphere, but this one isn't horror or about zombies, on a traditional level. I liked the movie for the most part.

I agree with most of what you have said. The film is very much a battle between what is right and compassionate and what is selfish and necessary. The two brothers are like the battling sides of one mans conscience. It also has more feeling than a film like 28 days later. I would recommend the film.

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