A virus-fueled apocalypse. No Twinkies, but there are "Rules". Pine in the Woody Role. Yeah… Carriers is like Zombieland without all the jokes.
The story follows a still-uninfected foursome of survivors — swaggering leader Brian (Chris Pine), brash babe Bobby (Piper Perabo), careful Kate (Emily VanCamp), and rule-maker Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) — as they drive cross-country toward a beachfront-favorite childhood safe-haven. Along the way, they meet up with slow-moving zombies (for lack of a better term), contaminated children, and diabolical doctors claiming to have a cure.
Not much else happens in this very predictable thriller that's too heavy on the heartstrings and too light on the horror. Still, I can't really find much fault with Carriers. It is exactly what it claims to be, and the acting, cinematography and special makeup effects are stellar.
Pine, who I've seen in Star Trek, Bottle Shock, and Smokin' Aces, is really underrated — one day, he will hopefully get a role that's both attention-grabbing and weighty because he deserves some consideration as something other than just a pretty face. He may be ridiculously good looking, but there's more to him than that. He tries valiantly in the role of Brian without overdoing it, but frankly he's not given much to do at all. Pine's costars are equally up to the task (I believed the chemistry of Perabo as his girlfriend, and Pucci as his brother), and it's nice to see Christopher Meloni flex his thesp muscles in something other than TV's plodding, played out "Law & Order" spinoffs.
Visual effects are credited to several companies but I have to say, across the board, they are really slick. And slimy. The pandemic's victims are appropriately gooey and gross, but as in the acting there is admirable restraint. It's not especially effective (I blame script and direction) but it is believable.
Carriers flounders under its own weight when it gets too maudlin, treading into TV movie territory now and again. (It's reminiscent, vaguely, of the far-superior miniseries, "The Stand"… even without "the stand".) There is absolutely nothing new or revelatory when it comes to the philosophizing, the plague itself, or the family dynamic. As a horror movie, it flat doesn't work. But if you are a fan of any of the cast, you might slightly enjoy this mercifully short (about an hour and half) road trip through the wasteland.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson