Film Review: The Carrier (1988)

SYNOPSIS:

Jake is an unlucky man. First, his parents died in a horrible fire that the entire town believes he set on purpose. Now it seems he’s contracted a condition that turns every inanimate object he touches into something that consumes organic matter. And he thought the town didn’t like him before!

REVIEW:

Written and Directed by Nathan J. White
Starring: Gregory Fortescue, Stevie Lee, Steve Dixon

Best Line:
Townie #1: “I know this is gonna sound crazy, but a book was eating his hand.”
Doctor: “Man, have you been drinking?”
Townie #1: “No!”
Doctor: “This was done by a piece of machinery, a knife, or a saw.”
Townie #2: “Well yeah, I had to cut off his arm to stop the book.”
Doctor: “Look, man, you gonna pile on this crap that you had to cut off this man’s arm because a book was eating it?!”
Townie#2 “I just wasn’t gonna sit there and let it eat him!”

This movie starts off tame enough but eventually explodes into utter madness. At the beginning we’re shown one poor, misunderstood dude who has an unfortunate affliction that turns inanimate objects into organic-matter-consuming objects of doom. By the end, the entire town is decked out in plastic armor so as not to touch contaminated objects and wage a full-scale war on each other over the possession of cats. Apparently there is a surplus of cats in this community, and that’s how they’ve determined they are going to check objects to see if their contaminated.

Nothing about this movie, other than the premise, is particularly fun to watch, even by 80’s standards. The premise of a guy with the unnatural power to transform whatever he touches into an object of death seems like a great power for one of Magneto’s minions, but the implementation of that concept into this movie was nothing less than absurd. There might be some underlying message about the panic of a community and the “mob” mentality that ensues at work here but it gets lost among the pitchfork and axe toting locals bedecked in their plastic armor shouting for blood and the cats melting into walls. The acting is far beyond subpar, though the actor who played the doctor, Steve Dixon, was actually able to ground the entire premise into something that seems reasonable…just barely.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that none of the actors really made a career of their trade much past the 80’s, not even Mr. Dixon. He had a couple of bit parts in later movies but nothing really took off for any of them. The director, too, only has one other credit to his name, and that’s a producing credit in the early 90’s. No real shocker there.

The Carrier did have some cool 80’s special effects in the form of human flesh being consumed by poles, trees, mirrors, books (my favorite of which being the Bible eating a guy’s face) and the like. There was a funny cheeky moment when the town’s religious zealot grabs the wrong piece of wood and begs for a little boy to cut off her hands before it’s too late. The boy is all too willing to oblige her, saying something about how he won’t be missing those hands one bit. That was fun.

So if you missed this one back in 1988 you didn’t miss much so don’t be too hard on yourself. I suppose if you don’t have anything, at all, better to do you could throw this one in the old VHS player, adjust the tracking and do some laundry. You’ll glimpse some entertaining moments, but not many.

The Carrier (1988)

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