Carriers Review

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Four survivors of a flesh-dissolving plague, led by hothead Brian (Pine), are driving to the coast on an empty freeway. When they’re flagged down by a man asking for help, the encounter brings them an unwanted passenger and an unwelcome detour...


The end of the world IS a never-ending thing... Not so much off-schedule as coming 28 Movies Later, Carriers is the latest in a long line of fear-of-infection movies that, like the nuke horrors of the ’80s, have dominated the past decade. Still, how’s this for mainstream nihilism? Just in case you feel the kids are missing out, here’s some viral pestilence for all the family — a PG-style apocalypse.

Carriers has had a few problems passing studio quarantine itself. All set for release in 2007, you suspect the sudden turnaround is due to the increased visibility of Chris Pine; ironic considering he spends half the movie with a flu mask clamped to his face.

Stripped free of exposition, Carriers presents a land already pre-decimated. There’s no world to save because it’s already gone, and a slow, steady panic has set in. Armed with a gun, a can of disinfectant and a set of commandments (“Follow them you live, break them, you die”), Brian (Pine) and brother Danny (Pucci) are driving their girlfriends to a coastal retreat to escape not just the outbreak but their fellow survivors. As one grisly encounter rolls into the next, it becomes apparent that while the backdrop shrieks apocalypse, in spirit, it’s a road movie.

So, if you’ve come for visceral zombie thrills, you’re in the wrong film. While there are dashes of body horror (man-eating dogs, blood-gurgling plague kids), Carriers offers the kind of scares the BBFC would class as “mild apocalyptic peril”. In its place is a stealthier suspense, bedded in the stark dilemmas of survival and an altogether weightier issue: the death of trust. Most apocalypse movies assemble a band of strangers; here, directors Alex and David Pastor aim their focus on a closely knit group that unravels in surprisingly engaging ways. Pine and cast do a good job maintaining tension, but what the film lacks is a sense of urgency. Here’s a movie so pulseless about the holocaust that it actually stops off to play golf. It’s full of odd decisions like that (even its bleakest scenes are shot in sun-drenched exteriors), but it’s also what sets it apart; a steady drama in a scrapey, chasey genre, and certainly more thoughtful than the usual histrionic yukfests. As an alt-apocalypse, it’s worth catching — although if the person next to you starts sneezing, you might want to find another seat...

A moody, engaging end-of-the-world horror-drama, if a bit too apocalypse-lite.