Night #5: Carriers (2009)

carriers_ver4

Directed By: David Pastor, Alex Pastor

Sometimes choosing life is just choosing a more painful form of death.”

After a pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, a group of friends travel south of the border to seek haven, though they discover that perhaps man is deadliest of all…

That’s more or less how the plot synopsis for this one goes and for the most part it’s correct, though even that doesn’t quite explain what this movie is.

First off this doesn’t really function as a horror and that’s not the fault of the movie. It’s not really interested in trying to be that. There are moments of tension for sure, but it’s much more focused on a series of encounters with the backdrop of a pandemic just to keep the tension up a little bit. I do like that. There’s no real explanation for what happened nor is there any real idea how long it has been. All we know is that most people are dead and some have managed to stay alive by being careful and following a vague set of rules that we don’t know really work or not (Essentially it’s just disinfect everything and make sure you don’t let the infected breath on you).

It sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise and I guess that I am, but Carriers is very much a movie that’s more the sum of its parts than the whole. It’s almost episodic in nature as our intrepid characters meet a father (the always excellent Chris Meloni) and his sick daughter who are travelling to a site that announced they have a cure, then later an abandoned hotel populated with survivalists. Even the section with the survivalists had me ready to roll my eyes once things threaten to get a little rapey, but it never quite gets there and instead the encounter is over as quickly as it began. Thankfully.

It’s the world-building the movie did that I liked the most, and forgive me for sounding wankey there. We get snatches of information that tell us what the world was like as this was all going down and what it’s like now (Mainly a land of distrust. Shocking) but it’s able to deliver it in a way that lingers after the movie is over instead of beating you over the head with it. It’s my favourite way of giving the audience information and flies against the current trend of movies explaining each and every facet of their existence.

Overall the movie has a suitably dour tone that avoids the misery-porn of something like The Walking Dead with some good performances (Hello pre-fame Chris Pine) and some affecting moments. So this isn’t so much Mad Max as it is a sad wander through a wasteland, arriving at a destination that’s inevitably only a temporary safe haven and hoping for the best. I feel like the ‘man is most dangerous of all’ story has been so completely devoured and spat back out now that there’s nowhere interesting for it to go anymore. Carriers isn’t any different in that respect, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to recommend either.

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