The Carrier

The Carrier (2015)
★ / ★★★★

The survival thriller “The Carrier,” directed by Anthony Woodley, suffers from a lack of tension, suspense, and common sense. It seems unlikely to fail because a chunk of the story takes place inside a plane with infected people aboard. One touch from those housing the deadly bacteria can render another to grow massive tumors—often on the face— in a matter of minutes. There is no cure for the disease. According news reels, this strain of bacteria came about due to multiple drug resistance (MDR). As it plods along in a most brainless fashion, it becomes all the more apparent that the problem lies in the screenplay. Although four writers are involved (Woodley, Luke Healy, Helen Kingston, Stefan Mitchell), it appears not one possesses a thorough understanding of what makes a thriller engaging. In the middle of it, I wondered if they’d seen zombie movies. Because if they did, they’d know that the most effective ones are not really about the diseased (or deceased) but the living.

There is not one character worth rooting for. There are nice ordinary people aboard (Zora Bishop, Maria Adams, Healy), but this is not enough to create a compelling protagonist. Nice can quickly lead to boredom, as demonstrated here, because the decisions he or she makes become predictable. Always doing the right thing is not always right if you’re interested in building tension. As for the more unpleasant characters (Edmund Kingsley, Joe Dixon), it is all behavior. Clearly, the goal is to survive, but we never get a sense of how these figures think and make decisions that could kill or infect another. Context matters in a movie like this, particularly when morality is involved, but the writing is so skeletal and black-and-white that events occur simply because something, anything must happen.

What about the disease in question? Does it have a name? Is a percentage of the population immune? We don’t learn anything new or surprising about it. The media mentions MDR, but what makes this disease special or unique to this particular story? In other words, what makes this story worth telling within the context of this fatal disease? We do not even learn details regarding how it started or how it became a pandemic. Again, the screenwriters underachieve.

Tumors take over one’s face once infected. The makeup effects are preposterous, almost laughable. I got the impression masks were purchased from the dollar store and modified just a little, if that. Watch carefully. When an actor moves a certain way or when he angles his face in a particular manner relative to the camera, observant viewers are able to see the seams. It is so poor quality, it’s completely distracting. How are we supposed to buy into the drama, to feel sorry for the infected being abused, when a mask looks like it is about to fall off? Even on surface-level entertainment, it fails.

“The Carrier” is not a movie to watch but to be endured. It has nothing of value to say or do. It is without purpose or conviction. It just… exists. I would like to ask the filmmakers what inspired them to make the movie when there are zombie and disaster films available that actually attempt to make a statement about our environment, our place on our planet, and our flawed humanity. As for the studio and executives: Why not simply donate the film’s budget to the poor? Because if they couldn’t make something good, the least they could done was to try to do good.

13 replies »

  1. this sounds like one i wouldn’t have finished. I like to enjoy my films; not “endure” them. lol. Seems too many chefs in the kitchen (writing room) and not enough in the make-up department…

    I’m not sure if we’ve discussed but I hope you will watch “Fatal Affair” on netflix w/ Omar Epps and Nia Long; it is soooo bad it’s laughable. I want to read your review! lol. Classic case of “Tell, don’t show”. I’m a successful lawyer. I’m a hacker. Meanwhile never shows them actually doing any hacking or lawyering. lol. This script is seriously like something I would have written in 8th grade.

    • I came across “Fatal Affair” on Netflix and it was a big, fat NOPE for me. I haven’t had much time to watch movies lately. I’ve been marathon-ing “The Walking Dead.” lol

      • i’ve watched the first 8-9 seasons of TWD. I tend to have a different opinion of the series as most; what is your favorite seasons, and storylines? And which is your least? We’re probably going to disagree b/c i seem to be in the vast minority. As usual, i guess. lol.

        • I’m only on Season 5 right now. But so far I think the best is Season 4. I felt like every episode there was a hook and a punchline. I wish it had ended strong, though. I don’t have a least favorite right now. I hear Seasons 7 and 8 are not that good. But we’ll see. I’ll definitely keep an open mind. What are yours?

          • yeah, see that’s the thing. I loved the END of season 6 and season 7, which is when so many fans complain the series jumped the shark. I don’t agree and actually think the exact opposite. I think season 6-7 took the series to another level. Neegan is one of the most intriguing villains i’ve ever seen on-screen. I haven’t hated another villain this much since “King” Jeffrey on Game of Thrones. That’s how much you will hate this dude. But Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance is Emmy-worthy; though you hate the character, he’s so fascinating to watch, as you never know what he’s about to do next…

            The closing of season 6/opening season 7 is one of the most brutal sequences you will ever see on-screen; the writers/director/cast did such a great job i think it had me emotional; it’s just so intense…an example of when American writing is on-par w/ those intense european horror/thrillers. But for some reason many of the fans felt the series declined at this point, but i think the opposite. It became so much better. I couldn’t get thru the episodes fast enough to see what Neegan was going to do next, and was just hoping someone would kill him. The interactions he would have w/ Rick and his group were intriguing to watch, and you were just hoping one day Ric or Darryl will catch him slipping…

            You will either really enjoy watching Neegan as much as I did…or you may think he’s too over-the-top. I actually think you’ll be interested in him, and if you are then you should enjoy season 7. I’m definitely interested to hear your take once you get to that point.

            • Okay, after reading your thoughts about that, I’m REALLY excited to get to those seasons. I love polarity. And if Neegan is an interesting character study, I’ll be sure to love it. Sadly, I got spoiled with what he did to one of the main characters. But at the same time it almost doesn’t matter to me. The reason is because the previous seasons have established that anyone can drop at any time. Not quite “Game of Thrones”-level, but it’s possible. What matters to me more is the context. Does it make sense that this character leaves? Is his journey complete? Or if it doesn’t make sense, why do it? Does it change those who loved him? And, in turn, does it change us, how we view the show?

              Ooh, I can’t wait!

              • aw man, you got spoiled; yeah, it was a while ago so I’m not surprised. I assume you’re referring to the sequence on the closing of season 6/opening of season 7. That sequence has actually become ingrained in pop culture. Neegan makes the Governor look like a puppy…

                So, even if you have an idea what happens in that sequence you still don’t know what happens in the aftermath. Someone spoiled to me that Ned was beheaded on Game of Thrones before i started watching the series. lol. So yeah, i know what you mean. People should be arrested when committing a Spoiler Offense. Good thing you and I aren’t in congress or that law may get passed. lol.

      • PS: you have to watch Fatal Affair!! lol. It’s so hilarious. I need to read your review and see that 1-star rating. lol. (*at some point in time)

        • Watch–I end up seeing it and giving it a 3 stars. Hahaha. I might give it a chance in the future. But not now–too much on my plate when it comes to media consumption.

      • PSS: Oh, and one thing that does make Fatal Affair more tolerable to get through is the absolutely amazing scenery of the beach house; how did they get such a great location, and such a terrible script; at least when you’re cringing at the dialogue you can enjoy the scenery; that location deserved a quality film. And then not to mention I screamed at the monitor on the final frame of the movie. I couldn’t believe the script became even more illogical than it already was. One of the dumbest decisions a protagonist has ever made in a “horror” film. But, it’s not what you’re thinking it is; it’s something different, and it offended me. You’re just going to have to watch and find out what it is. lol.

        • LOL no way you give it 3 stars; you do, it’s time to retire from movie reviews! The only way you give it 3 stars if you enjoy it b/c it’s so bad and the laughter makes you feel good; if that’s the case I’d give it 4 stars. The script makes Fast & Furious look like an Oscar winner. I hope it sweeps at the razzies! lol.

          • You never know. I’ve given some movies that most people consider to be a stinker ok to good reviews. “Movie 43” did not get a 1-star. Nor did “Baggage Claim.” Just some examples. Who knows? It might be one of those… Hahaha.

            • lol. no. the difference is Movie 43 doesn’t take itself seriously. Fatal Affair does. That’s why it is so bad. But it really does feel like a spoof like a Naked Gun or Hot Shots. lol.

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