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Archive for December 14th, 2009

There are lots of post apocalyptic movies where the world has been devastated by war or dieses. They tend to start with a brief glimpse of said apocalypse or at least a prologue explaining it depending on the budget. Carriers is something a little different, a Reservoir Dogs of post apocalyptic movies. Where Reservoir Dogs is a heist movie that doesn’t actually contain a heist carriers doesn’t actually have an apocalypse. Most of the population of the world (actually America, but in a Hollywood film America is the world!) has been killed by a highly contagious infection. The origin of the infection is not discussed or explained in any way but its transmit ion is displayed in graphic detail. All this is actually to the credit of the movie as it keeps it on a very personal level. We join the action as four survivors (Brian (Chris Pine), his girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo), his brother Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) and a young girl Kate (Emily VanCamp) whose relationship to the other three is never really explained) are as they are on their way to the ocean where they believe they will be safe or happy or even redeemed. On the surface this could be any other road trip, we don’t know at this point what has happened before. The reasons for their plan is never really explained, that really is the point of it, they have nothing better to do, nowhere else to go.

“Rumbling through this promised land

Tonight my baby and me we’re gonna ride to the sea

And wash these sins off our hands”

They survive by a set of rules (comparisons to Zombieland are inevitable but I understand this film predates Zombieland but has sat on the shelf). Along the way they encounter other survivors with their own agendas, sometimes they are the aggressors other times the victims. It is on this level that the film works best, above all it is a morality tale about what people will do to survive. There are moments in the film, one in particular that when you look back it becomes clear that the things would have been better if the actions of the protagonists had been more selfless, whether you use the term karma or not that is what it boils down to. The germ paranoia works well in context of the recent avian/swine flue scares and the importance or natural resources are clearly highlighted. Most of the action takes place in the daylight of the Texas and New Mexico locations. In some ways it is more effective for its vividness, the true horrors of the world don’t always happen in the dark shadows of gothic horror, they happen in the cold light of day,

Putting all this aside the main question is the film any good? It lacks the comedy of Zombiland and the action of 28 Days later, but can at times match the pair of them for tension. The story builds slowly, and although often predictable it is still effective. At its heart it is as much a road movie as a horror and probably draws greater parallels to Mad Max 2 than the zombie films it will no doubt be compared to. Harsh and realistic in its approach the lack of big and carefully choreographed set pieces make the film more human and more involving. Ultimately the film succeeds more on a intellectual level than a visceral one, that isn’t what I was expecting!

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