Top positive review
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Slow but suspenseful thriller
on April 2, 2016
Obviously if you look at the reviews here this is a movie that divides audiences. Still, 58% give it a four or five star rating, so those who do like it seem to like it quite a bit . I;m one of those. I think whether or not you like this film is largely dependent upon expectations and what you look for in this genre. You would have to call this a post-apocalyptic film, but don't look for anything like The Road and its scenes of bleak destruction. The budget is not big here, so this film takes place during the end of an epidemic that has killed almost everyone, and killed them so fast that most everything looks pretty much like it usually does. There are no zombies in this apocalypse, so no massive traffic jams, either. The infected are purely human, just sick, dying people and they do not come running at top speed to eat you. There are no post apocalyptic camps with tricked out vehicles or people ready for a Sid Vicious concert. So if you're looking for any of those things you are going to be disappointed.
Although I can enjoy any of those other takes on the post apocalyptic scene, I tend to like best the ones that don't glamorize it or overload it with action, but which portray it pretty much as it would really be. That's what this film does. Brian (Chris Pine) and Danny(Lou Taylor-Pucci) are brothers; Brian is a jerk and knows it ; Danny, younger, was a student at Yale. They are uninfected and decide to go to Turtle Beach, where they spent many happy childhoods. It seems to be several states away (and the beach was shot on Texas' Gulf Coast). Brian brings his girlfriend Bobby (piper Perabo) and Danny his friend Kate (Emily Van Camp), both of whom are also uninfected. There are strict rules to follow if they are to remain safe.
The film builds on the normal tension and fears that would occur on such a journey. Things do happen and they have consequences. The threats are real but they are normal sized and don't depend on outsized frights. After all a single angry dog or a pair of muggers would be a serious threat in real life. You don't always need supernatural creatures or hordes of cannibals. These people are really trying to survive in a world where an invisible virus is fatal. Some people find this all too slow paced, but it allows for tension to build up among the very credible actors. Some people don't like the characters, especially obnoxious Brian and find the others a bit air-headed or not survivalist enough to survive. But these are the kind of people who might accidentally survive; there's no requirement of heroism or bravery.
I find the movie unsettling and unrelenting in its way. If you can take this movie on its own terms, it's really good.