Still, I expected more on the background story. We aren't told much about the disease.
Overall, an ok movie, but not that great either.
People need to stop making so many apocalyptic films. They're seldom exciting; few of them are actually good. They all feel like the same bleak, slow-moving ride. Of course, there are some good films in this new wave of excessively hopeless films, and "Carriers", the film I am reviewing, is not one of them.
I can't say I'm surprised. What exactly did I expect from a film about an apocalyptic epidemic, which never sounded like it was going to deliver anything relatively new? Did I expect anything more than mildly entertaining? Perhaps I did. But I didn't have high expectations for this movie, regardless. It's a typical fight-for-survival film; no twists, no surprises, no reason to see it.
I am, in no way, saying that this is a bad movie. Plenty of effort went into it, and I admit that it is well-made on a technical level. But it lacks the ability to create true suspense, it's never really scary, and when it wants to be dramatic, it lacks an emotional edge. It fails at many things and succeeds at others. This very reality makes it feel a tad uneven, and thus, I felt myself drifting away, possibly to a better movie; and even with these derivative apocalypse films, there are ones that are "better".
A virus, with a source unknown, has spread across the world, killing everyone. The remaining survivors will kill to stay alive, and they will also steal, lie, and deceive. The film begins with four survivors, one of them which is played by Chris Pine (I only say this because you might actually know one of the actors, for a change). His character has a brother; and they both want to get to a "special place" from childhood, in the form of a beach, where they and their love interests can hide out for some time. Maybe the infection will die out.
Shortly after we get thrown into the middle of their grand adventure, the four pretty much take hostage a man and his daughter. The daughter is infected. The man is determined to keep her alive as long as he possibly can. On the journey, which takes up the entire film's story, the lot runs into many things; more infected, empty homes, and even crazed survivalists.
Yeah, it's not that exciting. It's sometimes intriguing, and comes pretty darn close to being mildly fascinating, but you give the audience some; and in return, you must also take some (from your movie). The film feels either unfinished or just told with extreme mediocrity. I felt bored for, perhaps, more than half of the movie. The other half was indeed sort of engaging, but there were too many faults that were attached to this movie.
I wouldn't tell you not to see the movie. It's not bad; but it's not good either. A decent movie, no doubt, but none-the-less one that failed as both a drama and a horror film. It's not "bad drama" or "bad horror" that gives "Carriers" the edge of mediocrity that it dons; it's the director...and the screen-writer. It is a beautifully shot, decently acted (aside from Pine, who is obnoxious and unlikeable) movie that didn't inspire much sympathy from me. There was little to like just as there was little to detest, and in determining whether you should watch it, the choice is up to you. You are either drawn into its story of an emotionally charged road-trip, or you are not; and I was not.
The lead role of this film is played by Chris Pine, the break-out star in "Star Trek" as Cpt. James T. Kirk. He and his girlfriend, along with his younger brother and his girlfriend, make their way in an SUV across a desert setting. They all follow one rule: Once you get infected, you're as good as dead. The virus itself is very disturbing, slowly killing a person until their body is like a living decayed corpse, much like that scary "guy-you-thought-was-dead-but-actually-isn't" in the movie "Se7en". Anyway, Chris Pine's character is actually a total asshole in this movie (to put it bluntly enough). He's a very selfish person who even disobeys his own personal rule listed above by refusing to be left behind when he (SPOILER ALERT) becomes infected himself (END SPOILER ALERT). His personality is contrasted with his younger brother, the voice of self-righteousness. But this film takes this theme of ethics in an indecent time and makes it more problematic. The movie seems to lean toward the justification of terrible actions such as killing and leaving others behind for dead in a world that has changed - human morality is no longer fit for a world bent on sheer survival and fear.
The message in the movie is one to ponder, but the flaws in the film are more easily discernible. For one, Chris Pine's younger brother is a stupid character, never bothering to check inside a room or a car before entering. Also, the film has a low budget, so it seems more B-movie and amateur-ish because of its financial limitations. Thirdly, some things are just left unanswered, such as the fate of the characters at the end and (SPOILER ALERT) what the hell those Hazmat-suit guys were planning to do with the girls if they got them to stay at the hotel. Where they planning to have sex with them like in "28 Days Later"? No, because they're too paranoid to get out of their suits into a contaminated atmosphere. So then what? (END SPOILER ALERT).
"Carriers" is a decent thriller/horror movie that was probably only released because of Pine's rise to fame in "Star Trek". But still, the film is enjoyable, and its short run time makes it even more favorable for those just wishing to watch a smart Friday-night movie. Watch it!
What was supposed to carry the movie here?
You have no character development going on at all, in fact, Emily VanCamp's character Kate is sort of getting cast out right at minute 4 and from then on has barely a few sentences throughout the whole movie. Even Bobby (Piper Perabo), the gf of Chris Pines lead character doesn't have any kind of background story. They are just hanging around. Director and writer Ălex Pastor might have intended the minimal background of the male leads to give some foundation here but that again doesn't consist of much more then the fact of them being brothers. Further exposition on any of that is barely existent.
Now all this is forgivable for your average mainstream horror flick, but then there is really nothing more going on here either. I mean no horror. No sudden plot twists and, no unexpected turns, not even frickin zombies and jump scares to get you trough the 84 minutes and even the "internal conflicts" (those I guess were supposed to make the movie TENSE) emerge way to late and are way to few and then also lack any kind of imagination.
Let me warn you: If you are just trying to sit this trough, waiting for a sudden turn or some crucial revelation (or the zombies to appear), I better tell you now: nothing is ever going to happen.