Carriers (2009)

Following the outbreak of a highly contagious virus, brothers Brian (Chris Pine) and Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) flee their home along with the former’s girlfriend, Bobby (Piper Perabo), and the latter’s school friend, Kate (Emily VanCamp). With the aim of waiting out the pandemic at a remote family hotel, the foursome are forced to join forces with a desperate father (Christopher Meloni) and his infected daughter (Kiernan Shipka) when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. With nothing but face masks, rubber gloves and an apparently inexhaustible stockpile of bleach to protect them, the travellers’ carefully orchestrated rules and precautions are thrown into disarray as the virus begins to spread amongst them.

Subjected to a particularly limited release courtesy of Paramount Vantage, Carriers was timed precisely to capitalise on Chris Pine’s recent success in J. J. Abrams’ acclaimed quasi-reboot of the Star Trek franchise. With Pine once again falling back on his cocksure charisma to carry a cast of relative unknowns, his presence is certainly one of the film’s biggest pulls, particularly given the invariably hackneyed premise which boasts all the hallmarks of your typical outbreak movie; zombie or, as is the case here, otherwise.

Viewed in retrospect as it is here, my oversight in 2009 finally reconciled with the help of Film4, it is easy to spot stylistic similarities with Breck Eisner’s remake of The Crazies from 2010 and Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion from 2011. With the plot carefully pieced together with the usual tropes, it is relatively easy to predict who will succumb to infection next from their personality alone, each casualty signposted by the completion of some meagre character arc that isn’t so much hinted at as lit up like the fair ground rides of Zombieland. Although any comparisons drawn through hindsight might be unfair, it is impossible not to note that directors Alex and David Pastor lack both Timothy Olyphant in a leading role and Soderbergh’s unsettlingly visceral touch.

While Carriers may not be particularly ground-breaking, or even the best example of its genre, it is a perfectly serviceable little film, and one undeserving of its maltreatment by Paramount Vantage. The cast – which also includes Coyoye Ugly‘s Piper Perabo and Emily VanCamp from TV’s Brothers & Sisters – are perfectly affable, with Pine managing to tread the line between confidence and arrogance as the group’s leader and elder-most sibling. Each character has just enough depth and likeable qualities to sell their evolving dynamic and keep the audience onside even as they start having to make the hard choices.

A fine way to spend 84 minutes, Carriers is as agreeable as it is unremarkable. One of those rare late-night surprises, it has just enough style and substance to compensate for an almost unavoidable lack of originality and a slightness that doesn’t quite satisfy.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Carriers (2009)

  1. Pingback: March 2012 – Fire all things that go bang! « popcornaddict

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