×

Carriers

Film spreads its bleak vision of post-pandemic terror to fairly chilling effect.

With:
Danny - Lou Taylor Pucci Brian - Chris Pine Bobby - Piper Perabo Kate - Emily VanCamp Frank - Chris Meloni Jodie - Kiernan Shipka

A PG-13 virus thriller might sound like a contradiction in terms, but for the most part, “Carriers” spreads its bleak vision of post-pandemic terror to fairly chilling effect. Alas, in apparent avoidance of an R, the film fails to clarify the particular threat of its infected citizens, red-faced ghouls who look plenty scary and are indeed contagious, but are never shown to bite. Put into extremely limited release by Paramount Vantage after spending years in studio lockdown, “Carriers” has moments of genuinely communicable horror and thus deserves better than a de facto theatrical quarantine.

That the film escaped from the lab at all most likely owes to the success of Par’s recent “Star Trek,” whose hunky Chris Pine appears here as Brian, the most hardened of four young survivors in a rural Southwest made nearly vacant by an unspecified plague.

The leader of a tight-knit group that also includes his younger brother, Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci); his g.f., Bobby (Piper Perabo); and another young woman (Emily VanCamp), Brian makes his mercenary agenda unmistakable from the get-go, as he initially refuses to help a man (Christopher Meloni, “Law and Order: SVU”) whose daughter (Kiernan Shipka), evidently infected, has blood in her mouth mask.

As in so many viral-contagion pictures, the sensitivity of some — in this case, Perabo’s instinctually mothering Bobby — brings about the emotional and physical collapse of others.

Sibling writer-directors Alex and David Pastor display a particular facility with shocking turns of narrative that reveal the desperation of those few left alive. Still, at a lean 84 minutes, “Carriers” has little chance to register on a sizable scale, and the shortcuts it takes — as if in deference to the familiarity of the genre — leave the film feeling a bit anemic at points.

The actors, a blond-dyed Pucci most impressive among them, appear both grimy and grimly determined. Tech credits, too, are appropriately ravaged, with Texas and New Mexico convincingly serving as depopulated wastelands.

Ultimately, the film’s greatest liability is the datedness of its outbreak. Released closer to “28 Days Later,” “Carriers” could’ve caught on.

Carriers

Production: A Paramount release of a Paramount Vantage presentation of a Likely Story production, in association with This Is That. Produced by Anthony Bregman, Ray Angelic. Directed, written by Alex Pastor, David Pastor.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, widescreen), Benoit Debie; editor, Craig McKay; music, Peter Nashel, Brick Garner; music supervisor, Tracy McKnight; production designer, Clark Hunter; set decorator, Gabriella Villarreal; costume designer, Jill Newell; sound (Dolby/DTS/SDDS), Lori Dovi; supervising sound editor, Paul Hsu; visual effects supervisors, John Bair, Jesh Murthy, Eric J. Robertson, Mark Russell; special effects coordinator, Randy E. Moore; stunt coordinator, Brian Smyj; associate producer, Stefanie Azpiazu; assistant director, David Allen Cluck; casting, Jeanne McCarthy. Reviewed at AMC Southdale 16, Edina, Minn., Sept. 4, 2009. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: Danny - Lou Taylor Pucci Brian - Chris Pine Bobby - Piper Perabo Kate - Emily VanCamp Frank - Chris Meloni Jodie - Kiernan Shipka

More Film

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up having been chief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software [...]

  • The Lion King

    ‘The Lion King’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Walt Disney Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Lion King.” Ads placed for the remake had an estimated media value of $5.64 million through Sunday for 1,290 national ad airings on [...]

  • Beyonce poses for photographers upon arrival

    Beyoncé Releases Music Video for 'Spirit,' Her 'Lion King' Soundtrack Contribution

    Beyoncé fans are stampeding across the web veldt to get a look at her just-released music video for “Spirit,” the original song she co-wrote and sang for the “Lion King” soundtrack. The track is also included on the companion album she executive-produced and will release Friday, “The Gift.” Clips from the computer-animated film are interspersed [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez Takes Down Wall Street Crooks in New Trailer for 'Hustlers'

    According to Jennifer Lopez, basic pole dancing movements all revolve around a few foot positions. But as she tells her stripper student Constance Wu, it’s not just about the dancing. In the new trailer for “Hustlers,” Lopez and Wu swindle a number of high profile Wall Street clients in an effort to bring their white [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Leaders Warn Members About Contact With Fired Agents

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are warning members about being contacted by their former agents — asserting that such efforts are an attempt to undermine the WGA and its members. The missive, sent Tuesday from the WGA negotiating committee, came with the guild in a bitter three-month standoff with talent agents that appears [...]

  • Apollo 11

    Film News Roundup: 'Apollo 11' Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

    In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal. RE-LAUNCH Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Michael B. Jordan's 'Just Mercy' Moves to Awards Season Slot

    Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming legal drama “Just Mercy” has been shifted forward three weeks from Jan. 17 to Dec. 25 for an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release. “Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content