Hitch a ride with end of world horror


Mark Evans

This downbeat take on the destruction of the civilised world after the spread of a deadly virus was overshadowed on its release by the similarly apocalyptic and miserable movie The Road.

The big flaw here is that, unlike 28 Days Later, the virus doesn't create homicidal zombies -- its victims just sort of slowly die.

It opens like any road movie featuring good-looking young Americans. There's truly annoying jock-like Brian (Chris Pine) and his smart, Ivy League brother Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), who are travelling across the southwestern US with babelicious Bobby (Piper Perabo) and straight-laced Kate (Emily Van Camp).

It's all going swimmingly, until we discover the true nature of their frat boy-and-girl road trip.

A SUV lies in the middle of a deserted road. Its driver, Frank (the excellent Christopher Meloni, of Law & Order fame) begs for fuel to get to an urgent appointment.

The youngsters don't want to stop, and it emerges that a virus has wiped out most of the world's population -- and contact with any of the infected means certain death.

And when Frank's daughter (Kiernan Shipka) displays all the signs of contagion -- a nasty-looking rash around her mouth -- stopping is not an option.

But when the group's own car breaks down, they're forced to take over Frank's car, and bring him and his little girl along -- with the latter two aiming to get to a town where a doctor is promising hope of a cure. The group have given up on a cure -- and want to live out the rest of their lives in their childhood resort home in California.

Without zombies, there's little tension -- and the only creepy encounter is with a bunch of vicious ex-soldiers equipped with biowarfare suits.

But the movie does succeed in showing the breakdown of order, and how people will smash all ties (with girlfriends, with brothers) to escape death.

And the scenes involving the little girl -- who we know is doomed -- are darkly touching.

Not a classic but it does well on what looks like a small budget with few thrilling moments scripted.

DVD EXTRAS: Not a thing.