Director – Alex Pastor, David Pastor
Cast – Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Emily VanCamp, Christopher Meloni, Kiernan Shipka
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a film that I had heard positive things about since its debut in 2009, but I took my time getting to this “infected” watch simply because I had grown a little tired of the sub-genre. Well, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and give this low-budget flick a watch, and after finally viewing this piece I can say that I see where the positive buzz is coming from. Sadly, most of the film’s premier events occurring during the first two acts, and what could have been a truly positive watch instead amounted to a borderline-positive outing at best due to the story’s decline during the third act.
After a lethal virus decimates the human population, four young adults embark on a journey to a beach visited during childhood in hopes that it will serve as a sanctuary from the still-spreading virus. Along their journey they come across others in need of their help, and a kind gesture soon turns to an ill-fated error when one of the four becomes infected.
The “infected” sub-genre has become quite popular since its inception last decade, and we have seen a slew of good and bad films cashing in on the idea. Thankfully, Carriers provides a unique plot that I had yet to see used in the “infected” sub-genre, which is the idea of focusing on a group of people trying to escape the virus, which in the end leaves them needed to escape each other. Relying heavily on character play and interaction, the screenplay flows nicely thanks to well-written dialogue and constant twists and turns. Brothers Alex and David Pastor did a fine job writing the film for the most part, and their idea of horror is a bit subtle compared to other infected horror films. The horror here does not lie in the hands of infected people running around causing havoc and bloodshed, but instead comes in the form of the drastic decisions that must be made by this group of young adults trying to survive and at the same time keep each other alive. We are forced to endure some very critical situations in which you most likely won’t like what is going on before you, but when you imagine yourself in that situation(which you WILL do) you realize that you would have to make the same decision if you wish to ensure your survival for another day. Carriers allows you to become enveloped into what is going on, and I applaud the Pastor brothers for making that possible. Sadly, the film does fall flat during its third act, which I felt failed to hit as hard as it should have. We were given an OK climax and decent events leading up to it, but either more should have been done in regards to the infection, or what we were given should have been better executed. Many questions are left unanswered, which some of you may enjoy if you like that sense of mystery, however I am sure others may see that as lazy/cheap writing. I personally feel that more information should have been given out regarding the virus, and that we should have been given at least a few more scenes involving the infected people. If you are going into this film expecting infected action like REC or 28 Days Later then you will definitely be wasting your time, as Carriers focuses more on the human side of the infected carnage.
The Pastor brothers gave us a positive directing job, delivering good performances and keeping the tension as high as they could during the applicable scenes. The film moves slow, so great camerawork and unique visuals were brought in to keep the viewers attention, and I must say that for the most part they did just that. Because the storyline requires our protagonists to be constantly on the move we are given numerous sets and settings, each of which were positive and allowed me to put myself in the film and imagine what I would do if I were in their situations and their settings. Also unlike REC or 28 Days Later, we get little blood or gore in the film, and also very few deaths as well. I understand that some of you may have a problem with this given this is an “infected” film, but as I mentioned earlier, the horror in the film focuses on the horrific actions our protagonists must take to ensure their survival, not on the infected themselves.
Overall, this is a borderline-positive watch that started off well and carried a good premise but eventually fell flat due to lack of story and execution during the final act. Carriers gives us a unique and subtle take on the “infected” sub-genre by mainly giving us the human side of infected horror, just be aware of what you are getting yourself into with this film and do go in expecting REC or 28 Days Later.