I was intrigued with the prospect of seeing this film after watching the trailer online and reading the synopsis a few months back. It seemed to be different than most virus/sweeping plague type movies. The film did not get a strong theatrical run which is a shame because, for the most part, its a solidly constructed film (despite some flawed rationale). My guess is that the movie may have been pigeonholed as a zombie film (which are running pretty rampant nowadays, get it?) but it most certainly is not. And at times, the pacing was a bit slow. This can be a death nail for a film trying to appeal to today's ADD afflicted movie goer(s).
The film starts off in familiar territory: a group of four friends, two brothers (one the stereotypical confrontational, hot head type; the other the more reserved and level headed of the pair) and their female love interests (one who knows that the douchey brother is an asshole but loves him anyways; the other, quiet and reserved, with a high likelihood of being the final girl) are headed across country to a perceived safe haven on the Pacific coast. Transmitted via air and through touch, the virus starts off as a nasty rash and but then quickly spreads throughout the entire body, eventually extending itself to the nervous and respiratory systems.
As the kids drive in a stolen Mercedes (hey, if shit goes down you might as well ride in style, right?), they come across a man and his daughter who have stopped in their SUV as its run out of gas. After the man approaches them, one of the girls notices that the daughter has a bloodied surgical mask around her mouth. They speed off after this observation, only to veer off the side of the road to avoid the SUV that's parked in the middle, losing their undercarriage and spilling oil out onto the road. Whoops. Having to hike it back, their supply of gas in tow, they instruct the man to climb into the back seat of the SUV with his daughter. Taking some bleach they also brought along, they disinfect the vehicle and tape off the section where the two are seated, creating a barrier that they think will hold and suppress them from the virus that both are presumed to be carrying.
Its at this point in the film (its only at about the 20 min. mark) where I have a problem with the logic. Between the back and forth of whether or not to let daddy and child ride along, they mention their series of 'rules' which has enabled them to survive for so long. Thats all thrown out the window when they let the father and daughter ride along to their destination which supposedly houses an experimental serum. Look, I'd like to think that in a world in which people are dying off and the end of humanity is quite possibly near that people will still lend a helping hand. But lets get real, self-preservation comes first and most people would shoot you dead than let you hitch a ride, your body likely riddled with disease. This point is made evident in a scene that occurs much later on in the film when a couple of women driving along the same route come across the band of kids and open fire on them after they're stopped in an attempt to steal their gas.
So the group continues onwards, stopping at the destination thats said to hold the key for stopping the virus. Only, they find the doctor who's now quarantined himself, explaining that the serum only lasted for a few days and the symptoms of the disease came roaring back. As the group heads back out, they find the tyke in the fetal position passed out in the back of the SUV. Father and daughter are made to stay behind as its apparent her situation is only getting worse and their is nothing that can effectively reverse the spreading.
As the film progresses, the group stops at a hotel in what appears to be Arizona. They are soon run out of town by a group of masked men who have holed themselves up in the area and staked it as their own. The reason? They uncover that the girlfriend of the douchey brother is actually infected herself. As the group drives onwards to their original destination, they have to make a choice of whether or not to let the girl continue on with them or leave her behind.
A series of other types of 'What would you do?' questions and decisions come in to play later on. The end seeing only two members surviving and its assumed, that they live on but no closure actually comes. Does the plague end or is a cure found? It ends on a very dull note which could also be a reason why the film didn't get an appropriate run (I watched it with my cable services On Demand feature).
All in all, I think the film is a well paced survival horror/thriller. If you can get past some of the irrational logic and the awkward ending, its still fairly entertaining.
Cortez The Killer