US (dir. Alex & David Pastor)
Cast: Chris Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci, Piper Perabo, Emily VanCamp, Christopher Meloni
Synopsis: Four friends try to escape a viral pandemic in the American West. They ultimately discover that they are more dangerous to each other.
Review: “Carriers” is a film where there’s not so much of a “point” to it. It’s a lot like that old saying about how the journey is more important than the destination (or something or other). “Carriers” is all about a journey that appears to have no clear beginning or end. It’s a movie in which nothing really happens. There’s no climax, no twist, there’s not really much of a shocking or surprising ending and even the message of the film is vague. The film has a story, mind you, but it feels like only half the story is being told.
“Carriers” is a good “at home on a weeknight” movie because it feels a lot like a made for TV movie, or something you would see as an episode of a big production television show like ‘Lost” or “Jericho”. It’s not a highly flashy or action-packed blockbuster, which is surprising because Chris Pine is the leading actor, and at the same time, disappointing, because I was expecting a really vicious pandemic movie (especially due to the current swine flu/H1N1 hysteria). In fact, when I first saw the trailer for “Carriers”, I was surprised that anyone who I mentioned the movie to greeted me with a blank stare and a “hunh?”. I mean, the movie stars Chris Pine! Admittedly, I don’t like him too much as an actor and I don’t find him even remotely attractive (yes, that’s important!), but with the success of “Star Trek” and his sudden leap from unimportant romantic comedies to blockbusters, you’d think there would be some fanfare over the fact that he’s in this movie. Nope. He isn’t even on the film’s poster. Not that being on the poster is really important (in fact it’s usually better when they don’t over hype the fact that some new, hot, young star is in the film) but it could have helped give the movie some well-deserved attention, because despite its lack of a “point”, it’s still a decent film.
As mentioned before, “Carriers” is a pandemic movie in which four survivors are on a mission to the beach so that they can ride out the apocalypse on sandy shores. There’s no explanation regarding the outbreak of the virus except for mentioning how it takes a long time to kill you and no back-story is given on any of the characters except in small tid-bits of information that have more to do with their personalities than their histories. Two of the survivors are brothers, while the other two are their girlfriends. The brothers have this unhappy relationship where one brother, Brian (Chris Pine) dominates the younger brother, Frank (that emo kid from “The Horsemen”) in what is, I assume, some sort of an attempt at brotherly protection and guidance in a post-apocalyptic world. As the movie progresses, Brian becomes more and more of an asshole (abandons a father and daughter pair who needed help, shoots two women, kicks his girlfriend out of his car when it turns out she has the virus, ridicules his brother etc.) while Frank learns to be more assertive and I suppose, more ethical, than his brother. I guess since Brian and Frank are central to the story in ‘Carriers”, the film is attempting to suggest that loving someone despite their faults, especially a family member, can be a struggle even in the worst situations one can face in life. In the end though, after two main characters end up infected and dead, the film poses the question of whether there is any point to living your life without the people you love. Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic movies almost always deal with survival. However, surviving is not living. “Carriers” is one of those films that dares to ask whether simply surviving is really at all worth it when there is no one around to share your life with. It’s one of the most introspective types of apocalyptic films out there. There’s also no grandiose budget where we get to see ruined cities and total chaos left behind from mass hysteria. The film simply shows the aftermath of a pandemic as it most likely, and most realistically, would be.
There’s a bit of humour here and there, and even a rather funny quip about Tiger Woods that seemed hilariously fitting due to his current personal troubles, but for the most part, it’s a dark, total downer type of film. It’s one of those films that leaves a lump in your throat at the end, and not just because it was too gushy or overly emotional, but because it reminds you so much about why the relationships we have with each other are to be treasured and never taken for granted. In terms of horror, it’s slim-pickings. The tragedy almost entirely outweighs any of the horror elements, but there are still a few (realistic) scares peppered throughout. The one big scare involving an infected person slowly dying on a bed turns out to be part of a nightmare, so even that one big scare scene is grounded in some sort of reality and not in some outlandish post-apocalyptic/pandemic genre film way where the infected turn into monsters or something.
In the end, there’s not much to say about “Carriers”. It’s a good film, but because there’s so little of a point to the movie, and no climax to speak of (unless you count the death of one of the main characters), it’s not a thrilling watch. Check it out if you are a fan of pandemic movies because in all honestly, this is as close to the real thing as you’re gonna see in a movie.