Carriers (2009) or why I hate modern PG-13 horror
And it isn’t because there’s no nudity or much gore. A lot of classic horror movies would be PG13 movies today, most of Hitchcock’s oeuvre, the Hammer Horror films, Jaws. Also, television is mostly PG13 and there’s plenty of quality adult fare on TV.
And that’s the word I’m looking for, adult. PG13 movies are made pre-teens (Heck, most teenagers watch R rated fare). This means the story lines and story telling has to be dumbed down for the audience. I know I’m not saying anything new here, it’s just I saw a good rating for Carriers on Netflix and decided I was being hard on PG13 horror. It wasn’t until I was bored stiff midway through the movie that this occurred to me.
You don’t need heads exploding like watermelons or girls running around showing their watermelons to make a good movie, you just need interesting characters, writing and plot. (Oh and many a bad movie has been lauded for it’s numerous watermelons which was just there to patch over a crappy film)
Also, the pay cable stations need daytime programming, so PG13 horror will always have money thrown at it to fill time. So they’ll always look better than many of their more adventurous R-rated content. And Carriers looked like it had a decent budget, it was just so stripped down to appeal to people who have never seen this type of movie. It lacked the details that make a good horror (or any) a rich world. You could drop in at any point in the film and not miss anything or even feel like you missed anything.
I was flipping through cable the other night and stopped on Couple’s Retreat (because, well, Kristen Bell in a bikini) and although the film was two-thirds done, I was caught up in 5 minutes because the characters kept repeating the skimpy plot and fit into such pre-defined molds. It was both depressing and a waste of all of those good, slumming actors.
That’s how practically every movie that runs on HBO at 2pm is, a generic genre film that could be dropped in on at any time.
It’s funny, even though TV is filled with all kinds of generic tropes, I almost never just start watching a show midway through it’s run. But I have no problem with that and the more generic pay cable movies.
Maybe it’s a strange bias, but I’d never watch a movie mid-way through, pre 1980. And this includes the MST3K-bad sci-fi movies, as they may be bad, but at least they were awful in interesting ways. But rarely generic and rote.
That poster is probably the most frightening thing in the movie, it at least let’s you use your imagination. However, Carriers, leaves little to the imagination. Fortunately, there’s little plot to explain and almost no detail to create the world. There’s been a worldwide pandemic, most people have died from a contagious disease, blah, blah, blah. Ok, here’s where detail is important, what are the details of this new apocalypse? How are the survivors surviving? The details are how the director comments on who we are today. Look at Children of Men, Goddamn, did that movie create a whole new dystopia through detail. But here we just get the broadest of broad strokes. Empty highways, rotted out farm houses, etc. Ugh.
Of course, being a PG13 aimed, I suppose, at pre-teens the cast are four twenty-somethings. The douche (Chris Pine post Star Trek so guess who’s featured most prominately), the weaker younger brother who’s the obvious eventual survivor (gee, does he stand up to his brother?), his girl friend and the hidden infected (the biggest zombie movie/disease movie trope).
They run into other infected people, abandon them, all act a bit like jerks, but fortunately, Chris Pine overshadows them. The cast is trying to get to their childhood vacation spot to run away from the infected. Guess who makes it and guess what, it’s changed. Ugh.
There’s no beat or plot point I haven’t seen before and seen better in other movies. I actually stopped 45 minutes in and watched the rest later, just so I could complain about PG13 horror movie. So, so generic, how did it get such a good rating on Netflix?
The only good parts, Chris Meloni and the girl who plays Sally Draper on Mad Men as an infected family (why couldn’t the movie follow them instead of the whiny, douchy cast. I’ve seen that movie before as well, but it’s a class above generic)
Oh, they played an M Ward song I liked for ten seconds.
See, I’m not a total hater.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad