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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Carriers: Circle Circle Dot Dot

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2009's Carriers is a film that went mostly unnoticed at the box office, as well as a film that no one really expected anything from (myself included), which could have had to do with the PG-13 rating, mixed with the somewhat youthful and attractive cast. I'm not one who believes that PG-13 horror cannot work, I just thought the movie looked weak and uninteresting. Still, when reviews came in and were mostly positive, I figured it was worth a look, and I am a sucker for any sort of Apocalyptic film, so my arm need not too much twisting.

carriers1Carriers keeps the story basic albeit slightly predictable, focusing on four survivors (played by Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris carriers3Pine, Piper Perabo, and Emily VanCamp) that are traveling the empty dessert highways as they try and survive a viral epidemic carriersthat has taken out much of the Earth's population. The story is simple, but doesn't treat the viewer as if they them self are simple. There is very little to no exposition, things unfold naturally and there is no over explanation as to what is going on. The film starts right off, without the usual back-story, and you really don't need it, as it becomes apparent through character interaction and the setting how things got the way they are.

carriers8 While there are a handful of well staged moments of tension, Carriers is not really a "horror" movie per say. It's more of a dramatical road film, with the focus being mostly on the characters as they try and keep it together to survive this pandemic. The only threat posed is from the infected, as their presence can spread the sickness either through the air or through blood. Other wise, they are just men and women that are slowly fading away to death, not aggressive or rabid zombie type of monsters, which is a nice chance of pace. There are no big action moments or wild special effects, it's a low key drama fueled thriller that goes through the paranoia motions from time to time.

One could consider the film's antagonist to be the four main protagonists themselves. They live by rules to keep themselves safe from infection, and play by what is an everyman for himself game of survival when it comes to characters they have run-ins with. One of the portions of Carriers that I found myself enjoying most was the interaction between the four main characters and a father and his sick daughter that they run into (played by Christopher Meloni and Kiernan Shipka, respectively). Meloni is fantastic in this small role and the father/daughter characters are clearly used as instruments to pull at the viewer's heartstrings. In my case, It worked.

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One of the few downfalls of the movie is it moves a bit slow at times, especially towards the end. However, the film is short, running at about 85 minutes, so there isn't much time for the film to wane too much on the viewers interest. Still, Carriers is good all around, with solid, simple direction from brothers Àlex and David Pastor. Everything about this film is simple, but it succeeds by doing what works and does so competently, without force fed plot points and exposition.

9 comments:

  1. With respectful opposition, I hated this film. For the sole reason of the group saving the father and kid and not doing what any rational person would do: either cap them or leave them on the side of the road. In times of crisis isn't it about self-preservation? That notion is shown when the guy shoots the car of religious-type gals in an attempt to get more gas. I felt like the film didn't know what it wanted to be at this point.

    And the ending was terrible.

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  2. This just depressed me, the hopelessness of the whole thing.

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  3. I continue to disagree with the PoT! I loved this film for essentially being about the immediate post-apocalyptic event, pre-apocalypse time frame that you never seen in film. We watch the leads BECOME the kind of villains we're used to in more extreme stories, and for me that made this a genuinely fresh tale.

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  4. Well, Emily took the words as they say...

    I think the group try and set up these "rules" to have a foundation, then when they meet that father and daughter, there humanity gets in the way. As time goes on, and the risk of getting sick becomes greater, they loose their humanity and skin begins to thicken. by time they get to the two sexy ladies, Star Trek dude is all for himself and his family.

    As for the ending, it was whatever, nothing original or great, but serviceable I suppose.

    One thing I loved about the film was the fact that it told stories without telling them. One moment in particular, the crew drive through a town and on by a pet shop where the camera repositions itself. What you see for a brief second is animals in that pet shop moving around, thus telling the viewer that only humans are susceptible to this infection. Is it important, maybe, but I love that it wasn't said, it was shown.

    But this is definitely a film that would get some varied reactions for sure...and it does have its flaws, even if I enjoyed it, so I can see why someone wouldn't like it.

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  5. It had rules which reminded me of Zombieland. I gave it 2 and 1/2 spins...was ok but didn't hit my top 20 list of 2009. But it was on alot of other top 10s of 2009 which I was surprised by.

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  6. Omg, so much wonderful discussion. I must see this. I can't wait to find out where I'll fall.

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  7. Loved this one, one of my biggest surprises of 09.

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  8. Emily, I will fight you, keeeeeeeaaaaaaawwwwwww!

    Some good points from you and Matt. And I'd like to believe in the pre-apocalypse timeframe and them still holding on to their humanity. But as Jaded metioned, they set rules for themselves. Had they not already done this through experience then this angle could have worked. As it stood, they DIDN'T follow their own rules and at this point, the film lost credibility with me.

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  9. Jaded: Zombieland made better use of the rules, and is a better film, though very different. I'd say 2 1/2 is a fair amount of spin kicks, and while I liked the film, it would not have made my top ten of the year. Maybe if I were to only do a top ten horror?

    Stine: And you better tell us which side you're on!

    Shawn: Definitely a surprise, and like I said, I thought nothing of it until it started getting decent reviews...even then I had pretty low expectations.

    POT: Oh snap, a knife fight between Cortez and Emily? I gotta go home for supper...

    You do have a point about the rules they set and the fact that they break them seems off. While I would like to believe my theory true, it would seem one would only come up with those rules after going through a situation that would force those rules to be made.

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