This flick, about a group of four young adults driving around aimlessly after a pandemic has wiped out most of the world’s population, is pretty much exactly like every other post-pandemic road-trip movie you’ve ever seen. If you’re not a fan of the genre, there won’t be anything in this one for you (except possibly the pleasure of seeing Captain Kirk again — as it turns out, Chris Pine is always Captain Kirk even when he’s not). If you ARE a fan of the genre, on the other hand, this movie will be somewhat disappointingly familiar, but you won’t really mind. Because, well. . . because you’re a fan of the genre. What more do you want, after all? It’s a post-pandemic road-trip movie, dude. *shrug*
The four main characters are two brothers, Danny and Brian (Pucci and Pine), Brian’s girlfriend Bobby (Perabo), and Danny’s friend Kate (VanCamp). As the story opens, they’re their town’s last survivors of a worldwide viral pandemic, and they’ve decided to embark on a road trip with no clear destination in mind. There’s some talk of a set of “rules” (ala Zombieland, but not nearly as clever), rules they promptly break when they encounter a father (ex-Boyfriend Christopher Meloni) and his obviously infected little girl. The father tells them he’s heard of a school a day’s drive away that has a cure, and since each of their two cars has a problem only the other car can resolve, the two groups have to team up to survive.
Of course, in reality, they have to team up because you can’t have a post-pandemic road-trip movie without some kind of Hope Mecca to journey to, and so, Hope Mecca: check.
What happens next? Oh, you know what happens next, don’t be silly. It all goes wrong, people die, we’re reminded again of the terrible things humans will do to keep themselves (and only themselves) alive, there’s some shootin’, there are a few scenes of gross looking dead or near-dead people, someone in the gang of four gets sick and has to be left behind, some militant survivors hassle them for a while, someone else gets sick and has to be taken out, the movie ends fairly lacking in hope. Like I said: you’ve seen this before.
But hey, credit where credit is due: at least this one doesn’t involve zombies, which I’d say is probably its one and only original idea (at least, it felt original in this day and age, when it seems like every disease-based disaster movie is really just a zombie movie in disguise). Instead, it involves something far scarier in practical terms — a virus that is highly contagious through air or contact, has an incubation period during which people are infected but not symptomatic, and takes over a week to kill: a long, long week of pain, sickness, misery, and isolation.
The thing is, despite what it lacks in the originality department (third floor, ding!), I still found this one thoroughly watchable. The acting is believable, the story is tolerable, and I appreciated the filmmakers’ attempt to make a scary disease movie that would actually feel somewhat plausible. If you like any of the actors, or you’re a fan of virus disaster flicks in general, this one is probably worth a rental. If not, well, hey, why’d you read down this far? Thanks for doing that. That was sweet.
Genre: Deadly Virus
Cast: Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Lou Taylor Pucci, Emily VanCamp, Christopher Meloni