MOVIE: Carriers (2009)

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.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Deadly Virus
Cast:  Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Lou Taylor Pucci, Emily VanCamp, Christopher Meloni

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9 Responses to “MOVIE: Carriers (2009)”

  1. Liz Says:

    Your description of this movie’s plot sounds EXACTLY like “28 Days Later,” which I LOVED. But, without the “zombies” (I know, I know, they WEREN’T zombies in “28 Days Later”), it also sounds like “Cabin Fever,” which I found somewhat interesting, but also somewhat disappointing. So, to me, the question is: why bother with this movie? It really does just sound like a re-tread of material that’s already been done better. And lucky you! You get to “screen” some of these movies for the rest of us, so we can decide if we want to see them

    Also, since when does a lack of zombies give credit to a movie? I’m sorry, I guess I’m just hung up on those z-people! Also, Chris Pine is NOT Capt. Kirk! IMHO, he was the only weak link in the new ST movie! You even say, yourself, that he just plays the same character all the time!

  2. megwood Says:

    Of course, I love it when zombies show up. But in this case, had it not been for the LACK of zombies, it really would have just been a far inferior 28 Days Later (also, for the record, I am not one of those loonies who tries to argue that 28 is not a zombie movie — let’s not pretend it’s worth getting that technical over, zombie purists). This movie is watchably entertaining, but yeah, it’s definitely a re-tread.

    I really liked Chris Pine as Kirk! I thought Karl Urban was the weak link in ST, personally, but every time I say that, I have to duck. So –> *duck*

  3. Trip Says:

    Oscar noms are out…some surprises there!!

    District 9 for Best Picture? Srsly?! Maybe a dark horse contender for Best Foreign, maybe, since it’s South African…but best overall?!

    If Avatar wins BP or BD…I’d say there are strong arguments that it’s all just a popularity contest.

  4. megwood Says:

    Oh god, I know. District 9 was nominated as filler, just like the others that filled out the new list of 10. What bullshit. It’s really pathetic to me, frankly, that the Oscars are doing this new 10-list so OPENLY just improve their ratings — so they can nominate the “worthy” films but still get the boring masses to tune into their TV show by also nominating the popular crap (not that I’m arguing District 9 was crap, mind you, but hell, I’ll argue Avatar was). Yuck. Have some self-respect, Oscar.

    I’d be okay with a screenplay nod for D9, but Best Picture? My ass.

    Do me a favor this year, Academy voters — surprise me for once and pick the right director and the right film (Bigelow! Hurt Locker!). Do that, and I’ll be back in your corner next year. Go with Avatar and we’ll all know at long last you’re the joke we’ve suspected you were since Forrest Gump.

  5. Trip Says:

    Not to mention that, applying this new filler standard, D9 edged out Star Trek(!), which was far more entertaining and worthy of a mention…

    You just know Cameron’s going onstage to accept his statue with “virtual” Na’vi applauding on the screen behind him, and then he’ll makes a King-of-the-UNIVERSE remark.

  6. megwood Says:

    Oh man, I SO hope they have a virtual Na’vi in the audience, at least (like they do with cartoon characters sometimes). At least then we’ll get a good hearty snark-laugh out of the whole ridiculous farce.

    Oh no you DI’ent, Academy Awards.

  7. Trip Says:

    Concur on The Hurt Locker – just watched it. Holy crikey, haven’t been made that tense and nervy by a movie in a LONG time. After that desert sniper duel scene, I was as exhausted as the guys on screen.

    Far and away the best movie about the Iraq War, and nonpolitical to boot.

    Oh yeah – she deserves it.

  8. megwood Says:

    I just saw it again myself, this time on the small screen (saw it twice in theaters). AMAZING film. Just amazing. I hope everybody sees it, war movie fans or not. Brilliantly made and so thoughtful, every element. She better fucking win or I will seriously blow some shit up.

  9. Liz Says:

    I absolutely agree! And I haven’t seen EITHER “Hurt Locker” or “Avatar.” I have “Locker” on my Netflix queue, but I’m getting to be rather “anti-Avatar.” 1) I don’t want to pour money into seeing a movie in the theatre, for the SOLE PURPOSE of seeing special FX – no matter HOW good they are. 2) Why should I rent it on DVD, if the “substance” of the movie is so minimal? I feel like if “Avatar” wins for best movie, it will be because of the CGI … and nothing else! And I don’t think that’s what should determine what makes a great movie. By all accounts, “Locker” is the one that has it all: acting, writing, story, location(s), etc. It also doesn’t hurt (hee, hee – pun not intended) that it was directed by Cameron’s EX!

    For the record, I don’t begrudge Cameron for winning for “Titanic” – I truly thought that was a great DRAMATIC AND TECHNICAL achievement. I also don’t begrudge him his acceptance speech – I still think he was just quoting his own movie (DiCaprio), and didn’t realize how arrogant he sounded.

    If C. wins “best director,” I can forgive that – as long as “Locker” wins “best picture.” BTW, do you think “Inglourious Basterds” has a chance? I decided to put that one on my queue as well. I’m pretty sure Christoph Walz (sp?) will win “best supporting.” As far as I can tell, those are the only movies to seriously consider at all – the SEVEN others all seem to be filler to me (although I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed “Up” – and I also have “District 9” on my queue. Why, oh why didn’t they at least nominate “Star Trek?”)

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