Surviving an apocalypse is a lot like heading off for your freshman year of college. Sure, you'll miss all your old friends and family, but just think of all the cool new people you're about to meet.
What if, as in 2009's Carriers, you end up spending the apocalypse with your family after all? Well, you might be in for a long trip.
A virus has reduced humanity to a handful of survivors. Chris Pine and younger brother Lou Taylor Pucci have made it this far by following a few simple rules. They don't know how long they'll last, but they have one final goal: to revisit the beach where their dad took them as kids.
A bit grim-sounding, isn't it? Scratch that: a lot grim-sounding. In fact, to me that sounds about as grim as the Grim Reaper sighing as he clears the photographs from the home of his recently-deceased dad, then heading to the kitchen to prop himself up with some coffee only to remember no one's keeping the pot full anymore.
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The end goal of Carriers may be depressingly resigned, but the route to get there isn't so much. People always complain about the almost-total death of the human race, but what about the "fun" parts of the apocalypse? Freed from laws, Pine is able to drink and drive, to crash golf carts into sand traps, to whack golf balls through windows. Oh, and to abandon those closest to him when they come down with the ultraflu.
The first full-length film from brothers David and Alex Pastor, Carriers is a well-blended mix of the fun and the horrific. The Pastors' sensibility already is finely honed. As often as their material risks melodrama or bleak absurdity, they know when to underplay or to pull away from the moment in order to preserve its strength.
The thing is, they're just good storytellers. I didn't realize the virus' origins hadn't been explained until an hour into the film. In fact, it never is. In their hands, that didn't bother me.
Carriers' only major flaw is that it isn't ambitious. It isn't breaking any new ground, and if it's pushing any envelopes, they are novelty sized.
Originality aside, it's a fine little film. Here's to hoping the Pastors push themselves harder the next time out.