Pandemic Pays the Piper

Sometimes choosing life is just a more painful way of choosing death - Doctor

Chris Pine as Brian Green in Carriers (2009)

From the cover "Carriers" looks like a horror movie, it has a storyline about a world where people have died due to a pandemic and survivors have to protect themselves from those who are infected and I watched it of Film 4 FrightFest. But "Carriers" isn't really a horror movie; it's not about the infected lumbering after the living and those who become infected turning into slobbering zombie like beings. Nope "Carriers" is more interested in how the uninfected are affected by the death around them and how far they will go to protect themselves even when someone close to them becomes infected.

The world has been devastated by a pandemic which kills those that become invested. Brian (Chris Pine - Just My Luck) and his brother Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) along with Brian's girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo) and friend Kate are survivors (Emily VanCamp - Beyond the Blackboard), travelling by road in the hope of reaching an isolated and hopefully safe beach. But along the way they have car troubles which forces them to seek help from a father and infected daughter who want to get to a medical research unit. But as this group travel their own sense of right and wrong is tested as hard decision have to be taken.

Lou Taylor Pucci and Emily VanCamp in Carriers (2009)

It is easy to see why "Carriers" is categorized as a horror because it has that familiar set up of an infection wiping out mankind and those who are uninfected forced to keep on the move looking for safety. It even has a few familiar scenes such as when are group of survivors come across rotting bodies in darkened rooms or when they come across other survivors where a sense of mistrust causes tension.

But then "Carriers" isn't interested in trying to scare you with blood dribbling zombies but is all about the hard choices which present themselves. To give you an idea we have these 4 survivors who are forced to ask the father and infected daughter for help, Brian would be happy to shoot them as in his mind they are dead already and to be near them would break a rule of survival he came up with. But then we have his brother Danny who is more compassionate and wants to try and help them get to a medical centre. That may not sound that interesting but it is because later on when one of them becomes infected Brian's cold rules about the infected are put to test as to what they do.

There are other instances where the moralistic aspect of the decisions they make challenge them in different ways from hiding their infection to whether to kill or not. But it does mean that "Carriers" is not trying to scare you but make you think about the decisions. That though causes a problem because at just 84 minutes this is not a long movie but it feels long and at times overly drawn out. Even attempts to infuse some energy into it, such as when are four survivors mess around on a golf course end up feeling drawn out.

What this all boils down to is that if you see "Carriers" and think it's just another infected horror movie don't be fooled. This isn't a movie about frights but about the choices made by those trying to survive in an infected world and how compassion has to be given up in order to survive.

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