Like most horror nerds, I have an aversion towards horror that's PG-13. It's usually either an unremarkable remake ("The Ring" being a prime exception to the rule) or dull teen centered horror. Few people seem to realize what can be done with a PG-13 horror movie. Well fortunately, "Carriers" manages to be an exception to the rule of PG-13 horror sucking.
The film deals with two men and two women-Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), his brother Brian (Chris Pine), Kate (Emily Van Camp) and Bobby (the usually likable Piper Perabo)-who are all headed to the beach. Well, there is a problem though: a deadly, incurable virus has wiped most of humanity out. As they try to make it in time, they are forced with tough decisions that test them mentally and physically. As the film continues, it becomes more hopeless, and our protagonists soon realize the only thing that may be worse than the epidemic is themselves. Plus, Brian's behavior doesn't help matters either.
Sounds like a zombie flick, doesn't it? Well hold your horses Sherlock, because that's not what you get here. That's right, this isn't another apocalyptic zombie flick-there are no zombies to be found here. What it is though is a smart blend of horror and human drama about loss-the loss of friendship, the loss of life, the loss of family, the loss of the human race and the loss of one's humanity. Fortunately, the filmmakers responsible know how to work this within the PG-13 rating, making it a movie that stands heads and shoulders above much of it's similarly rated ilk. The acting is mostly good, with Pine doing a great job of making Brian both an complete asshole and a somewhat sympathetic man forced into extreme circumstances, and Perabo and Van Camp doing great jobs with their roles. Chris Meloni also shows up, adding to the moral fiber and quandary the film has.
And the moral fabric is what makes the movie work the most. This isn't a movie of huge action scenes and apocalyptic granduer. This is a movie about human reaction to dire times. What would one do in a world mostly robbed of humanity-both people and what makes them human? It's a slow horror flick, but one that's more about the journey than it is action. There are a few flaws-Pucci is a bit weak as Danny, and a few shots and directorial choices reek too much of obvious symbolism.
That out of the way, this is a mostly great take on the plague movie that focuses more of human drama than it does "gotcha" moments. It's a shame Paramount barely released it in theaters-it's a movie that will probably disappoint those hoping for a zombie flick, but those wanting something different should check it out-it could very well become a cult favorite on DVD. It sure does deserve it.