starring Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Emily Vancamp, and Lou Taylor Pucci
written and directed by Alex & David Pastor
Paramount Pictures (2009)
When I saw the trailer for this movie a couple years ago, I assumed it was about zombies. BUZZ--wrong. It's apocalyptic, that's for sure, but the downfall of mankind is in the form of a virulent disease that slowly kills everyone it infects--and it's infected just about everyone on the planet. No zombies or anything zombie-ish. Just dead or dying people strewn across the land, and four teenagers on a last ditch road trip to a family beach house for safety.
Now, the back of the DVD case describes these four characters, lead by the new Captain Kirk, Chris Pine, but I couldn't believe that for a second. How old are Chris Pine and Piper Perabo, anyway? Hell, Coyote Ugly was, what, ten years ago? And she wasn't even playing a high school kid back then, so how am I supposed to buy into that little character detail? Beverly Hills 90210 offered more believability on that front.
Anyway, Chris Pine plays a douche bag boyfriend, leading his girlfriend, little brother, and baby brother's pseudo-girlfriend cross country on open roads to their summer beach house where they spent their childhood. A disease has ravaged the land, and what few people remain are in it for themselves. That point is driven home early when the quartet are roadblocked by an SUV containing a father and his young daughter. The father insists he just needs some fuel, but when they see his daughter is infected they hightail it out of there, getting a window smashed by the father, and a rock on the roadside busting their oil line. When their car dies, they wander back with fuel--and a gun--back to the SUV and make a deal of sorts to take the father and daughter to a military compound where a cure is supposedly in the works.
To sum up this movie in a word, I'll go with bleak.
I'll also go ahead and characterize all four characters as entirely unlikable. Chris Pine's character is insufferable, to the point where if I was in the group, I'd weigh my chances with the disease over the douche bag. His little brother might have been likable had it not been for the shifts between righteous indignation towards his brother's behavior, and his own repellent tactics that emerge later in the film. Then, the girl they are with, whose relationship with the little brother I never really caught on to, is a hard-hearted jezebel. Piper Perabo's character comes close to being likable, but the idea that she's in love with Pine's character makes her seem foolish to the nth degree, then she becomes deceptive towards the others midway through the film and loses all sympathy.
I need at least one character I can either root for or identify with, and I got none of that from this movie. The guy from Law & Order: SVU who plays the father they meet is probably the most relatable in a sense, but he doesn't last too long.
The suspense is there in many spots throughout the film, so that's a saving grace, but the movie wound up meaning nothing in the end. Had the relationship between the two brothers been explored more to give the movie a better entry point for viewers, I think it would have helped the movie a lot, but it was kind of wasted in the end. Too bad, because this movie had a lot of potential.