So what can I say about this amazing 2009 film that Stephen King didn’t already say in Entertainment Weekly? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. But the point that he spoke about it is why it is here. He wrote about Carriers because no one had seen it. He talked about Carriers because no one had heard of it. He talked about Carriers because the movie company handled it wrong and tossed it aside like a red-headed step child. So here I am, to further push what King was saying about the grim, post apocalyptic flick. It is a chilling and intimate look at what the end of the world would be like for one small group, doing anything they can to find a shred a hope. You know I love movies like this, and Carriers is this genre done right. I swear, next week I will talk up a happy movie. But for now, stick around. It is worth it, I promise.
” I woke up like this” is playing on the car stereo.
Carriers is about a viral disease that ends up wiping out most of the world. We follow a pre-Star Trek Chris Pine as Brian, the sort of captain of this voyage (sorry, had to). He is traveling with (mainly) his girlfriend, Bobby, and his younger brother, Danny. They believe that if they can get to the Southwestern part of the United States, they can hole up in a secluded beach motel where they can (hopefully) survive this pandemic or at least wait for it to pass. If you know anything about these kinds of situations, you know it is never as easy as the plan people have in movies and shows. Reality is, when a disease rips a world apart like the disease in this film does, you know that also reduces the humanity in people to near zero. The horror often does not arrive in the form of the disease itself in so much as it presents itself through the sad acts of desperation the other survivors are willing to do. Good time for a trailer? Keep in mind, I will say what I always say when we reach this part. Don’t watch the trailer. Maybe you wonder why I post them if I think they ruin movies. Well, some people just wont watch a movie without having seen the trailer first. I do this with them in mind, but I warn you. The trailer (once again) shows a little more than a smart story teller would choose to give away. So much like you would approach a corpse you found during an outbreak like this, approach this trailer with caution:
Think Walking Dead without the walkers and you have a good idea of how this world is.
I think what struck me most about Carriers is the dynamic between the younger and older brother throughout all of this. The complicated layers of a brotherly relationship is just perfectly represented here. We see it is not easy, and they do not always see eye to eye on things. But at the end of the day (and the end of humanity) it is a bond nothing can break. Add to that the somewhat third wheel dynamic of the girlfriend, and you have a complex story about human relationships in an inhuman time. I need to give huge props to Chris Pine for his portrayal of Brian in this movie. He plays the older brother both trying to protect his younger brother and his girlfriend, while also protecting himself. We all know family dynamics can be quite complicated, and we see that here. There are moments when you can see that Brian is torn between his lover and his brother, and in a world where a quick decision can mean life or death, that changes up just how serious every moment and the ever-shifting dynamic is. As small as the story is, though, there are more characters than just these three. I am choosing to be withhold some of that information on purpose, as those provide many changes in the story that I don’t want to potentially spoil for you.
This scene in particular stands out as tense, unnerving, and unforgettable.
There is one encounter the group has where they go to a school where there is rumored to be a vaccine for the disease. It is not a very long scene, but it has a huge impact and drives home to the viewer just how dire the situation these three are in is. This is not some flu most people can beat. This is not some disease turning people into flesh eating mutants. Nope. It is just a virus that is wiping out humanity, slowly, one by one, and you get this gnawing feeling that no matter how far they drive or where they end up, there is no sanctuary. It starts like a small feeling of hopelessness, but it grows exponentially during the film. That is what makes Carriers so exceptional when there are so many other movies like it. It is a like a small, personal, intimate glance into the end of the world. The worst part is, it is an end of the world that feels perfectly reasonable and realistic. Even as I type this, we are a world circling the drain. An overpopulated mess of a planet, filled with people who feel nothing for each other and just rush through life like sheep. It is almost like we NEED something like this to happen to wake us up. To strip us of our differences. To remind us how important family and our personal relationships are. To pull us away from these damned machines and make us actually interact with one another again. Carriers struck me, because that is what it felt like. It felt like how the world would really end. Felt like it showed us ourselves, even if we weren’t ready to see ourselves like that.
This is a scene from the Japanese game show: Don’t Fall on the Infected Dead Guy.
This is the part where I tell you I just told you nothing. Just 1000 or so words to hopefully make you want to see Carriers. I told you what you would have learned from reading a synopsis on any website about the movie. But I also told you it hit me hard, (and hit Stephen King hard), and I would like to think we are at a good enough place in our relationship where that is enough to compel you to want to see it. It is not shiny, it is not happy, it is not hopeful. But in its own crazy way, it is perfect. A flash forward glance at our lives and what we would become were we faced with the end of mankind. Yes, it is heavy. But in many ways, it is also necessary. So see Carriers. But tell them Stephen King sent you, because I would have never found it had he not sung its praises first (and far more delicately than I ever could, frankly).
At least he has a gun tucked in his asshole, just in case stuff like this happens.
So rumor is you want me to write for your site or review your movie, huh? Hit me up here and we can talk about it.