Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Carriers Movie Poster Image
Gloom, not thrills, in sci-fi drama of worldwide plague.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 84 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Premise evokes an environment in which acts of compassion and mercy usually end in infection and death. Much is made of brotherly loyalty and sibling love (real-life brothers created this movie). But none of it proves strong enough to overcome the selfish, life-or-death choices here forced by a deadly virus. 

Positive Role Models

The script has very few characters who are
all heroic or entirely villainous; in fact, borderline-hoodlum Brian and unassertive Daniel might be considered closer to the bad-guy spectrum, all in all. The noblest character is a middle-aged dad protecting
his contaminated daughter to the end (and he exits the storyline midway through). Brian, ironically, is the only
one showing any respect for religion; he seems to think God has protected him personally. Two doomed characters who are conspicuously Christian are shown heartlessly manipulated over their faith.


Fatal and non-fatal shootings draw blood, including the death of a dog. Gruesome corpses, as characters infected with the disease bleed and die, and one is shown after being burned on a pyre.


Suggestive talk ("eat me") between boyfriend and girlfriend. They start to strip for sex but get interrupted. A band of male survivors threaten to take the leading ladies, for their own unstated (but easy to guess) purposes, make them strip to their underwear for inspection.


Use of the s-word in varied permutations, "ass," "piss," "S.O.B." A written racial slur. One utterance of the F-word.


Car models, Jack Daniels whiskey on display. Mention of SpongeBob Squarepants.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mention of "weed" (chiefly its absence). Drinking of beer and liquor until drunkenness sets in.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this downbeat tale of an unstoppable plague virus has a strong atmosphere of hopelessness and doom, with occasional dead/decaying bodies show (the only time a big pile of corpses appears, they're all encased in opaque bags). Violence includes several shootings, some at close range with blood. Swearing is PG-13 level, with one use of the F-word. Main boyfriend-girlfriend characters have obviously been sexually active, though no sex is actually shown. Parents have apparently been abandoned to perish, and we see small children who are similary destined for death. The main characters commit acts of vandalism, drunkenness, and recklessness.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove September 11, 2012

A good watch!

Carriers is a very decent science fiction film. Didn't know what to expect but I found myself glued to my chair the entire time. It's suspenseful, not... Continue reading
Parent of a 2, 3, and 11-year-old Written byamy59602 April 8, 2010
Teen, 15 years old Written byHateithere April 30, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 16, 2011

check out my page for more great recomendations

The good stuff

Role models:
The script has very few characters who are
all heroic or entirely villainous; in fact, borderline-hoodlum B... Continue reading

What's the story?

An unstoppable, lethal plague virus -- unexplained but hinted at originating in Asia -- transmitted by touch and by breath from person to person, has devastated humankind worldwide. By the time this movie opens, most people are dead, no organized society remains, and it's every man for himself. College-age brothers Brian (Chris Pine) and his younger, brainy sibling Daniel (Lou Taylor Pucci), and their girlfriends drive a stolen car to a well-remembered childhood beach-resort, evidently in the Gulf of Mexico, where Brian and Daniel plan to wait out the plague with their surfboards. But, as they encounter other scattered, sometimes dangerous survivors, infection, deceit, and desperation tear the foursome apart.

Is it any good?

Pine is excellent in the showy part of a strutting hellion who treats it as a chance to act like a jerk; possibly this is his way of coping in a nightmare scenario. But the minimalist, no-frills approach to the characters, and to the disaster itself, leaves the film feeling often as narrow and empty as the roads the protagonists drive.

Paramount released to DVD this moody, small-scale sci-fi-tinged drama (set in lonely highways and small settlements, no spectacle) after one of its stars, Chris Pine, scored a star-making lead in a big-scale sci-fi drama -- as the "new" Captain James T. Kirk in an epic Star Trek relaunch. Both pictures received a PG-13, but CARRIERS, without a jillion Federation Credits depending on its success, has the "luxury" of being much more disturbing and grim. Unlike similar blockbuster treatments of the  mass-human-extinction theme like I Am Legend, there's no hope or miraculous reprieve for viewers, who are asked to consider how folks would behave (or misbehave) if everyone was dying/dead.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way the main characters behave. Do you think their reaction to a virtual end-of-the-world situation is realistic or not?

  • Ask which characters, if any, are worthy of emulation. Bad-boy Brian suggests that his seemingly more sensitive brother Daniel is no less ruthless than he is, just smarter in letting others do the dirty work and appearing guiltless himself. Is this so?

  • What do you think might happen to the characters left alive at the ending? How would one go about dwelling in an empty country?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

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