In a world devastated by an outbreak, Brian, his girlfriend Bobby, his brother Danny and their friend, Kate, are heading to a beach where the brothers spent their childhood vacations expecting it to be a sanctuary. When their car breaks down on the road in the desert, they negotiate with a man called Frank, who is also stranded but without gas. He is trying to get his daughter Jodie to the hospital (she is infected with a disease of some kind), they all decide to travel together. During the journey, massive moral dilemmas arise, as events head into a downward spiral.
September 4, 2009
Àlex Pastor, David Pastor
Àlex Pastor, David Pastor
Chris Pine as Brian
Lou Taylor Pucci as Danny
Piper Perabo as Bobby
Emily VanCamp as Kate
It’s been a few years since tossing the Carriers disc into the old DVD player. After a second viewing however, I’m wondering what the hell took me so long to get back to this underrated little gem. Outside of grotesque visuals and pure ultraviolence it’s got everything a fan could ask for. And, to the credit of David and Alex Pastor, who write and direct, the post-apocalyptic angle of the story feels somewhat refreshing. That’s not necessarily an easy accomplishment.
The story follows four 20-somethings as they trek across a desolate land, the human race all but wiped out by a virus that transforms men, women and children into walking, talking death sentences. You don’t want to contract this virus, that’s for damn sure. And Brian (Chris Pine), Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), Bobby (Piper Parabo) and Kate (Emily VanCamp) are not only aware of this, they take the strongest measures possible to avoid being infected. They keep to themselves, they abide by a certain set of rules. But, you know how these movies go: some random stranger has to show up and spit in the cereal. In this case it happens to be a man (experiencing car trouble) and his daughter. While the man seems completely healthy, his youngster is infected, making her an imminent threat.
A series of unfortunate events force our four focal players to turn to the man and his daughter for assistance. They need to not only get his vehicle up and running, they need his vehicle to get as far from civilization as possible, but he’s not going to just hand over the keys to be left stranded and waiting to die. An agreement is made and Brian does his best to create a partition that will separate the back of the SUV from the front; the man and child are obviously forced into this makeshift quarantine zone. But will the separating tarpaulin (duct taped to the vehicle’s ceiling) prove enough to keep the film’s protagonists safe?
One of those rare breed of films that invoke a sadness deep enough to rival the fear of the story, Carriers is a project that saw very real nurturing and strong attention to detail. The on screen performers do an absolutely fantastic job, each gifted a unique personality. Brian is the hard ass willing to do whatever it takes to survive, Danny – Brian’s younger brother – is looking to find hope in a hopeless world while Bobby plays the compassionate role and Kate seems content to tag along with little input. They’re all very different individuals, but they fit together as a cohesive unit.
A lot of praise has to go out to these performers as well. After all, it’s not just the scripted personalities that make the ensemble work. Pine, who hadn’t yet fully exploded in Hollywood thanks to appearances in the Star Trek films and Unstoppable, is convincing as the often-douchey-for-a-reason leader. And Pucci, who had yet to wow us with his brilliant performances in the Evil Dead remake and the avant garde pic, Spring, handles his material like a seasoned veteran. Perabo is great (as usual), even if her character’s heart is too big for her own good. And Kate is effectively introverted. These four play off one another wonderfully, which is a major plus, given the fact that they carry the vast majority of the film on their shoulders.
Carriers is a little bit of The Crazies mixed with a hint of 28 Days Later, though it never once feels as though it overtly borrows elements from either picture. No, Carriers does its own thing, and leaves its own impression on the viewer. The fact that emotions and emotional responses take to the front seat while the outbreak itself lingers in the truck bed is fantastic. You can’t fall in love with a film if you can’t fall in love with the personalities within that film. These are individuals that we want to see survive. Will they all survive? I’m probably not spoiling much when I tell you no, not every character will make it to see the final credits. This is a horror film after all, and death comes with the territory.
Don’t hold out hope for grandiose special effects and huge explosions; they’re nowhere to be found in this film. Rather, we get the chance to study a group of characters that feel lifelike… organic, if you will. And the absence of blockbuster level visuals actually empowers the picture and story as a whole. There ae very few bells and whistles to distract the viewer. We all want to see a great, multi-layered film loaded with engrossing content, the kind of content that makes us think, and Carriers most definitely makes that happen. Carriers is a great little film and I recommend you make this one mandatory viewing.