Carriers

June 17th, 2011 by Perfesser Deviant

Carriers   carriers poster02 81x120 reviews horror Directors: Àlex Pastor & David Pastor
Writers
: Àlex Pastor & David Pastor
Release Year: 2009

Plague? Rats.

Danny Green (Lou Taylor Pucci) his brother Brian (Chris Pine) and two women – Bobby (Piper Perabo) and Kate (Emily VanCamp) – are heading on a road trip to the beach when they run across Frank Holloway (Christopher Meloni) and his sick daughter, Jodie (Kiernan Shipka) in a SUV that’s out of gas. Normally, this would be a minor inconvenience, but the whole USA – possibly the world – is dealing with an always-fatal pandemic, and she’s infected. In case you couldn’t guess from the title – and the fact that Christopher Meloni only seems to be cast in tragic media – things don’t end so well….

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(Spoilers follow…)

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Pandemics are awful, especially when they’re fatal. This illness, wherever it came from, starts with a rash, then blooms into an epic case of consumption that would seem too much even for a Victorian novelist, but that’s why it works. The disease hits hard and fast and seems similar to the dreaded septicemic plague, the rarest and deadliest form of the Black Death that killed within hours rather than days. It’s really nasty and makes the other plagues seem kind of fun in comparison, mostly. Even worse than the horrible effect of the plague is the extreme virulence that allows it to be passed around more easily than a drunken girl at a kegger. It’s some bad stuff.

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This film is a tale about a person’s humanity versus their survival instinct. Each time someone faces the test of helping the ill, the wrong choice is to be sympathetic as it results in the kind person’s death. When the protagonists find a stranded father and daughter, they try to avoid helping, but they have to in order to get a new vehicle. When one of their number gets infected, it’s because she helped. When the next one gets infected, it’s because of love and companionship. When Brian kills a driver (LeAnne Lynch) to steal her gas, he avoids killing the passenger (Jan Cunningham) out of compassion and instead finds that some women know how to shoot too. No good deed goes unpunished in this film and only the most callous individual, hardened by the graveyard that surrounds him, has a chance.

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The performances in this film are all first rate as the young actors do their best to show their desperate attempts to keep themselves together. The cast is helped out by having interesting characters to play who seem like real individuals who have been damaged and are doing their best to cope. Danny survives by following a rigid set of rules meant to keep himself alive; that, along with a healthy case of denial. Brian keeps going by blustering his way through life as the de facto leader of the merry band of misfits who has come to represent a new family to replace the one he ‘lost’. Bobby stays sane by letting Brian run the show and Kate checks every payphone, hoping to find one that she can use to call her lost parents. Each of these actors, along with the supporting staff, pulls off a difficult role quite well.

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The problem with a film that’s good because of clever writing rather than explosions or sleaze is that there’s not much to say about it without damaging the magic of the film. This is an excellent accomplishment for the brothers Pastor in their debut, making a film that works well their first time out. I hope they can do it again.

 

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