2009 Running time: 84 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Four college kids take an unwanted road trip through an America in the lethal grip of a viral pandemic. Heading for the coast – and, they believe, safety – they are forced to run the gauntlet of self-protecting survivors, the hopelessly infected and emotional friction amongst themselves. Star Trek's Chris Pine stars in a taut, brutal and convincing account of how the prospect of death brings out the worst in us. Cover your mouth when you cough, please.

Directors

  • Alex Pastor

  • David Pastor

Cast

  • Chris Pine

  • Lou Taylor Pucci

  • Piper Perabo

  • Emily VanCamp

Review

Washing your hands, disposing of used tissues and covering your mouth when you sneeze isn't going to be enough to save four kids desperate to evade a global virus.

This particular contagion spreads effortlessly, triggers vast internal bleeding, and leaves the skin with all the cosmetic appeal of an oil slick. Oh, and certain death.

Bad boy Brian (Star Trek's Pine), his Yale freshman brother Danny (Pucci), Brian's girlfriend Bobby (Perabo) and student Kate (VanCamp) are heading for a Gulf of Mexico resort where the boys used to vacation as kids.

They hope they'll find sanctuary from a virus mercilessly working its way across the country, laying towns waste and wiping out locals unlucky enough to catch it.

For those left it's a desperately anarchic battle for survival where the old tenets of decency and selflessness are sacrificed and everybody you meet is either a threat...or a source of petrol or food.

Spanish directing team, brothers Alex and David Pastor, have managed to create the road trip from hell - an unflinching chronicle of how the foursome - taking remote back-roads and avoiding contact with other humans - lose their carefree attitudes (playing golf at an abandoned hotel complex) and teenage innocence (deciding who lives and who dies).

It's just not Hollywood to abandon a devoted father and his infected six-year-old daughter to certain death yet this selfishness is what gives this admirably unsentimental movie its dramatic heft.

There are convincing run-ins with survivalists, confrontations with Christians who aren't so Christian as well as hard decisions to make within the group itself.

Those fearing The Road remade by Disney can rest easy - the rom-com wordplay of the early scenes soon gives way to anguished debate and moral conundrums never considered outside a war zone.

Never less than engrossing, this is one trip you won't want to make.

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