The Carrier (2015)
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Critic Reviews for The Carrier
Audience Reviews for The Carrier
For those of you who may not know, one of my biggest phobias is flying. And perhaps phobia isn't really the right term to describe it, since it's not like I assume the fetal position whenever I see a plane or I see sequences in movies where character(s) may be flying. It's not even that extreme. And I don't even mean I'm against the concept of getting on a plane and flying somewhere, since I have done it before and, I'm sure, will do it again. What I'm afraid of is finding myself in a situation where something happens during the flight and nothing can be done to fix it. And I realize that flying is a safer form of transportation than driving, but it's an irrational fear. That fear I have of being in that situation is better and more tense than this movie ended up being. Look, I get it, there needs to be movies like this. Sometimes filmmakers like to stock up on their portfolio, they want to expand their filmography, get some more experience under their belts, even if that works ends up being no good. To accomplish those goals, sometimes, you make a film that looks like it was made on a $10,000 budget. But that should be no excuse, at least in my opinion, to not tell an interesting story with the elements you have at play here. Looking back on the film, there were some fairly intriguing ideas here, but the execution made this a very boring and substandard movie. There's this virus that has decimated the planet and these 8 survivors take off in a 747, hoping to head to Greenland, where it is rumored that a cure is being developed. This all sounds familiar, hell it sounds like an on-the-air version of Train to Busan, an excellent horror thriller from South Korea. There's a few differences, though, Busan deals with a zombie epidemic. This movie has none of that, the only thing that the virus does is cause tumors to grow on the infected's body or face. You can get infected just by coming into contact with anyone who's afflicted. The fact that the virus isn't deadly is a problem, because it creates a scenario of 'why are these people trying to escape'. I completely understand people trying to leave situations where, if they get infected, they die within seconds. But, with this virus, you don't actually die, you don't turn into a mindless husk who needs to consume the flesh of the living. I'm not saying that this people should WANT to stay where they are, if there's a chance they could be infected, but it's not that difficult to avoid, just stay out of contact with those who have the disease and you'll be fine. So we're starting off with an exaggerated concept that's a little difficult to buy into. And we're also starting off being thrown in the middle of things. Characters have already been established without your knowledge and you're supposed to figure things out right quick. The movie isn't difficult to follow, of course, so you'll be caught up immediately. But it's just shoddy writing to throw you right into the middle of things with no set-up. But there's some good ideas in the movie. We find out that one of the survivors actually has the virus and this is meant to create tension between the survivors. Tension that's not there, but tension nonetheless. There's this character Eric, who's the big asshole on the plane, who keeps actively trying to sabotage the flight, since he wants to avoid spreading the virus to other countries when the plane inevitably lands. I thought that dynamic worked well enough, but you can also see the other survivors' point of view in trying to reach Greenland. That might be one of the only things I liked about this movie. The problem comes in when the movie tries to focus more on the interpersonal relations between the people on the plane. The virus almost becomes secondary to that. And, I'll be honest, I didn't think the characters had that much in the way of depth. Not that I was expecting much out of this, but the characters are just talking heads. Some of the actors are good, like the actress who played Maria. Actually, while there were no Oscar winners here, the acting is fairly decent. I'll say this, it's never as bad as one might reasonably expect given the low budget. The worst actor of the bunch, Larry, had some really fucking bad scenes. Like there's a scene where something falls on his arm, half of which had to be cut off since he had the virus, and he lets out the most fake and forced scream in existence. It was really fucking awful. But, at the very least, they had enough intelligence to keep the character of Larry away for most of the movie. He only appeared when it was absolutely necessary. I digress, the interpersonal issues, and not the threat of the virus, is front and center here and this is where the movie fails. They don't make the characters interesting enough or the situation desperate enough to truly buy into what happens to the people on this plane. The film attempts to make some grand statement about how the real 'villains' are people (or in this case, just one person) and not those who are infected and it's so inept that it can't even do that right. It's inept because that 'twist' in that character comes out of nowhere. Maybe it's not even that it comes out of nowhere, it's just that it feels so forced. Like they had to have some sort of message or moral and they just shoved one in there, no matter how contrived it was. Really, in spite of some interesting ideas and some decent enough acting, I just thought that this was a bad movie. What little I liked wasn't enough to overcome the fact that the film is just dead on arrival, without anything in the way of tension or suspense. Some might see something of value here, but I just didn't like this movie at all. It could have been worse, but there's enough here that it SHOULD have been, at least, a decent movie. Poor execution ruined that. I wouldn't recommend this, but you may find something you like here. Who knows?
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