Sunday, September 19, 2010

Carriers (2009)

This flick is in the category of "horror" but would probably be better labeled as a drama.  It starts out like a coming-of-age tale of carefree, young friends out on the open road up to no good, but the tone changes sharply as they encounter an unexpected blockade in the road.  A man has blocked both lanes of the street with his large SUV and is standing in the middle of the road holding a wrench.  All the passengers in the car tense up and immediately roll up the windows.  The man identifies himself as a father who just needs some petrol.  Then, we catch a glimpse of the little girl in the back seat wearing a medical face mask with dark splotches of fresh blood.

I won't spoil any more of the film, but suffice it to say it's not a conventional "horror"film.  This group of twenty-somethings have to make hard decisions; for in their world, following your conscience can mean signing your own obituary.

In one telling scene, they've nearly run out of gas and they see a sedan coming up.  Brian as usual decides to take an aggressive stance by barreling head-on towards the car and then immediately slamming on the breaks while turning rapidly so that they stop obliquely to the car but still blocking it's path entirely.  The more sedate and intelligent brother, Danny, tells Brian to let him handle the diplomacy.  The women are noticeably frightened and tell him to back away.  There is an ichthys symbol hanging prominently from the rearview mirror.  "Ivy league," as Brian likes to call his brother (because he got accepted to Yale before it closed due to obvious reasons), played on this to garner sympathy.  He said he hoped as "fellow Christians" they would find it in their hearts to spare some oil.  When that didn't work he lied and said that his wife in the car was pregnant and they only wanted to get somewhere cool where she could deliver in the shade.  This is when his riled up, uncouth brother comes out with guns a blazin', literally; however, it didn't exactly turn out as planned because that female Christian passenger was also armed.

Certain groups reacted to the pandemic differently.  Many holed up with trusted comrades while arming themselves to the teeth against strangers that were possibly infected.  Others, despairing their current situation decided to lash out at the marginalized, minority factions of society.  In one vivid scene, a group of men armed with shotguns chases down a lone victim and shoots him dead.  Our small band of protagonists are unwitting witnesses to the gruesome crime.  The next morning they are reminded of the night's grim shooting.  The group looks out from their windows at the grisly sight in silence.  The perpetrators had taken the corpse of their dead victim and tied him to a high post with rope.  They hung a large placard around his neck that read:  "Chinks brought it."

I liked witnessing the how the characters reacted when their personal moral convictions and close relationships were pitted against pragmatic expediency and their survival instincts.  This small band of friends started out with a simple plan to survive the pandemic by merely waiting for the rest of the world's infected population to die off, since this would mean the demise of the disease as well, yet following strict protocol isn't so easy when human emotions are also involved.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. Hey Kyle, I watched it yesterday. I thought there were interesting bits to it, but didn't think it was particularly cutting edge. None of the moral imperatives are things that haven't been done before in zombie movies like 28 days later. There are two books that it reminded me of, one is Z for Zacariah and the other was "The last town on earth" (which I haven't actually finished) which I think it was giving a nod to with the mention of the mill, with the guys at the hotel.

    I thought that it could have developed the pseudo philosophical note at the end, which was quite interesting when they said two strangers on a beach etc., by questioning the imperative to live in a more direct way. Why live if you're going to be alone. I think that all this has been done in a more interesting way before, like in 28 days later, when the girl hacks the guy to pieces with a machete, and his parents leave him a note in his locked hospital room saying "we left you while you were sleeping, don't wake up".

    The acting wasn't bad, and the photography was ok too. I wouldn't have given quite so high a rating though, given it's formulaic plot.

  2. Oh, and I thought some of the ideas in the film are good, like "the chinks brought it".

  3. I didn't think it was particularly original either. I just happen to love this particular genre. "28 Days Later" is one of my favorite horror films of all time.