Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Carriers



Carriers 2009
Directors: Alex Pastor and David Pastor
Writers: Alex Pastor and David Pastor
Starring Chris pine, Piper Perabo, Lout Taylor Pucci, Emily Van Camp, Christopher Meloni, Kiernan Shipka, Ron McClary and Mark Moses

With stuff like the avian flu and the swine flu in the news lately, viruses that become out of control are a topic that is ripe for picking in the horror film genre. Carriers is the latest film to take a stab at this topic. This was also a film that unceremoniously dumped by its studio in a few theaters and then went directly to DVD. It is a shame because this was quite a well done and capable horror film and one of the bleakest ones I have seen since the Mist. The film is a slow burner as it first it seems like a young group of friends heading on vacation, but soon turns horrific when you see that some kind of horrible virus has destroyed civilization and no one has empathy for anything but their own survival now. The film has a great cast in Pine, Perabo and Meloni and they all do a fine job. If there is any quibble with the way the film is structured it has to be, there are really no characters you like or sympathize with and that is what brings this film short of being a great horror film. It really should take a cue from the 28 Days Later series of films, no matter what is happening to the people in those films, there is always a glimmer of hope. There is none of that evident here and that is the ultimate downfall of the film, and a valid reason probably why it did not get the venue of viewers it could have gotten.
The plot basics are this, four young friends are driving down the road to the beach on what appears to be a idyllic vacation. As they come near a stranded car with a man (Meloni) and his child, things get deadly serious. All the kids put on breathing masks and the driver, Brian (Pine) pulls out a gun. It seems that civilization is nearing its end as a virus has decimated the population and it is now everyone for themselves. They agree to help the people, but they quarantine the little girl who has the virus and head forward to take them to a clinic that the father believes is in operation. When they get there they see that there is no hope, and through a rash succession of bad decisions Bobby (Perabo) becomes infected and she tires to hide it, until she is discovered and the decision that comes next is harrowing and extreme. They all keep trying to make it to the beach they remember from their childhood, but through many harrowing experiences only a few make it and it is not a happy ending that any of them will receive.
This was a great film. The direction by the Pastors is done very well, at first the film seems to be shot like a travelogue documentary you would see on the Discovery Channel, but then quickly diverts into a paranoia viral infection film. The desert locale really benefits the starkness of the themes in the film and really makes the viewer feel that they are in a wasteland. The script is very good, though it is more about plot as the characters are never really developed that well. It seems that they are more a means to an end to propel the story and re not all that important in the scheme of things. A perfect example of this is the character arc of Bobby, the way her story progresses you would think she is a focal point of the film but, once she gets infected she gets tossed aside without a forethought and you never see her again. That really kind of disappointed me. The cast is very good. Pine as Brian is very charismatic and very interesting to watch, he plays a charming but ultimately unlikable character. Perabo is probably the best performance in the film. She brings a sense of pathos to the story it is just a shame the film cannot capitalize on that. Meloni does very well with his small part, but he also disappears halfway through the film and you never get much closure on his story. The SFX and effects in the film are great, I especially loved the scene where Pine almost falls into the pool at the country club and almost comes into deadly contact with a virus ridden corpse. This film is ultimately a bleak affair, but what really detracts from it is that the characters are so unsympathetic. I would recommend it if you like bleak and of the world horror films, just don't expect more than a good plot with this film.
This one gets 3 out of 5


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