The Carrier, 2015.
Directed by Anthony Woodley.
Starring Ed Kingsley, Jack Gordon, Karen Bryson, Joe Dixon, Zora Bishop, Billy Clarke, Andrew French, Luke Healy and Rebecca Johnson.
Eight survivors take to the skies in a badly damaged aircraft to escape an antibiotic resistant pandemic which decimates the planet. There’s nowhere safe to land, but things really start to go wrong when they realise that the infection is on the plane. How long can they stay airborne? And more importantly what will be waiting for them if they land?
Not to be confused with the straight to DVD thriller starring John Cusack and Robert De Niro, this film titled The Carrier is a low-budget British thriller. In the vein of Outbreak, The Carrier brings the audience into a ravaged Britain that is becoming overwhelmed with a deadly infection. A plane with a handful of passengers try to stay safe by staying in the air, whilst some of them hope that a cure may be found.
The Carrier plays out as your fairly standard bio disaster pic. There are some stock characters in there. A dashing and heroic pilot (it seems at first), the pragmatic and slightly unbalanced asshole, the religious character, the joker and so on. We’ve seen this film before. We’ve seen it with a bigger budget and better actors, but in fairness we’ve also seen it done far worse. Normally filling in some graveyard slot on an obscure movie channel in the dead of night. The Carrier opens fairly interestingly, as a young mother infected with the virus tries to get her son through a quarantine zone and onto a departing plane, on which her husband is waiting. Director Anthony Woodley begins the film with a degree of tension and intrigue.
When the opening has ceased and the credits come, the film then spends its middle third taking place entirely on an airplane set as a small group of passengers struggle to find unity as they are dealing with the infected. Friction arises particularly as Mr Pragmatic (Eric, played by Joe Dixon) would rather bludgeon and dispose of infected quickly, rather than risk spreading the virus. He also objects to their choice of destination for fear of spreading the virus further. Aside from a mild case of being a bit psychotic he’s probably the unofficial hero of the film. He’s the only one who seems to have a brain and think logically, but of course he’s one of the antagonists in this romanticised view of interminable human spirit in the face of pandemic adversity. However this is the atypical way in these sort of films.
The final third injects a bit more life into proceedings with a few brief action skirmishes and a bit of variety as we’re taken off the confined setting of a plane interior. The cast are okay here. Dixon has the more interesting character and gives the most interesting performance. Edmund Kingsley (son of Ben) as the “heroic” pilot has an interesting arc and gives a good performance. The remainder of the characters, and cast are a mixed bag. Craig Turnpike who kind of has the “everyman” leading role doesn’t have a lot to work with, nor is he strong enough to elevate such a bland character.
The lack of budget means the film never really has a stand out moment. The main focus, without the budget for action or something spectacular, has to be human drama. The drama itself is largely mundane however, and not really engaging enough to put aside the budgetary constraints for a film desperately in need of an injection of excitement somewhere. The font of all knowledge, IMDB, reports the budget to be $3 million but there’s absolutely no way. Undoubtedly the plane set would have been the largest expense but the rest of the film seems very cheap, whilst the cinematography is dreary and uninspired.
Overall The Carrier is reasonable fare. Not good, but not bad. Whilst avoiding the temptation to have gone the zombie route could be commendable, at the same time an injection of some more terror and threat probably could have helped the film. Where are the rage infected monkeys when you need them?
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★