Carriers Review: The Norwich Of The Horror World

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

CARRIERS: On General Release across the UK from Friday 11th December 2009

Norwich is, to most people, the end of the A11.

It’s also, shockingly, a near perfect analogy for Carriers (bear with us), an Alex & David Pastor-directed movie.

Which was also – conveniently – in the can back in 2007, long before it’s lead actor, Chris Pine (most recently seen delivering an acclaimed performance as the newest Captain of the Starship Enterprise) became Hollywood hot property.

The presence of Chris in an unchallenging alpha male, quarter back jock role seems to have been enough to get it out of the dusty under stair cupboard at Paramount headquarters and onto the big screen. It looks like any number of other indie road trip-horror-shocker flicks with the ubiquitous collection of all American teens; Chris Pine playing the bullying big brother, his sentimental pacifist ‘ivy league’ brother and two blonde companions to scream, sweat and tease their way to an inevitable and painful death.

The plot is a well trodden but evergreen staple of horror teen cinema where an apocalyptic virus has taken all but a few desperate survivors (who will inevitably litter our heroes’ path and impede their progress) on their quest to find the cure.

So, Norwich.

A terribly nice, amicable place that – with some creative thought – could have its own personality and stand up alongside its big boy rivals. Except, much like Carriers, any potential or individuality is soon squandered by its dumbing down and need to dazzle with the expected tropes you find in every other city (or genre movie).

Still, like Norwich, it’s not entirely humourless. Carriers does try to tackle the ‘end of the world via contagious-virus’ formula from a slightly different angle, and some of the zombies here are helpless, often thoroughly reasonable people before, during and up to the point where this virulent airborne virus eventually kills them.

The slow painful death without the flesh-eating hysteria of other films in this mould gives the writers an opportunity to present some new moral dilemmas, along the theme of what I expect will be the tagline on the posters, ‘the sick are already dead’. However, dilemma follows dilemma and because there’s nothing particularly remarkable or endearing about our Norwich high street characters and their magnolia looks, the endless, escalating and not-thoughtful-enough-to-be-thought-provoking attempts to explore some interesting ideas are leave the movie for dead.

Norwich is ok; you’ve made the trip, you’ve seen some familiar high street trickery but all in all, you’re left with an unremarkable middle of the road feeling. It’s a prawn sandwich at a petrol station, and a suit from M&S. You’re on a generic high street that gives you everything you want but no more. And, I’m sorry but not surprised to report is where this film happily, contentedly like Norwich, seems happy to be.

James Carr

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