A unique apocalypse has devastated the world, and brothers Brain and Danny are on a pilgrimage across the country to their childhood haunt … a holiday house on the ocean where perhaps they can weather the storm of an airborne virus that infects its human hosts with ultimate death. Tagging along with the brothers are Brian’s girlfriend Bobby and their friend Kate. When encountering a father and his infected daughter who have run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, their trip takes a detour where they will discover they have more to fear from each other than a lethal virus.
From the out-set, we are only given cursory hints as to what the world (and our individuals) have been dealt – and this works. The mystery could entail many things on the menu: most notably zombies, but it manages to avoid the old tropes and goes straight for the heart. I use the word ‘unique’ as this is a film that has taken a different route from others in the genre. Sure, there are shades of many of its predecessors. Most notably movies like 28 Days Later, and literature like The Stand and Night Surf. But Carriers is infused with a domestic human element that makes it worthy of distinctive praise. Throughout, we are treated to some genuinely disturbing moments as our characters try to deal with the illness - like the dilemma that is so pertinent to Zombie films: after infection occurs the pretence goes on that they are not infected … and should they divulge that they are? It’s designed in a way to make the viewer feel contaminated, and more than once I found myself wiping a hand on my sleeve. It does lack gore and action, but the real violence boils down to the callous lengths people will go to when their own survival is questioned.
Someone pointed out recently that the current crop of horror movies being released to DVD is in a downward spiral. They may be right, but every so often a film like Carriers comes along and stems the flow.