The Carrier (2015)
The Carrier is set soon after the outbreak of a global pandemic, with the UK in lockdown. The exact nature of the disease is never specified but the suggestion is that it's an antibiotic resistant mutation. The infected quickly suffer from skin lesions and large tumour like growths over the body giving them a monstrous appearance.
The first scene has a woman and her young son trying to reach one of the last planes out of the city. It's tense and emotional without being sentimental - which pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the film.
The rest of the movie then centres around the plane with its small complement of crew and passengers. The main conflict is between the captain, Tobias (Edmund Kingsley) and security officer Eric (Joe Dixon). Tobias is determined to get the plane to Greenland which is believed to be the one disease free place left. Eric thinks that this would simply risk spreading the disease and wiping out what's left of humanity. Both men are willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve their aims.
The thing is... they both have a point. One of the things I like about The Carrier is that although it's very dark it isn't black and white in terms of morality. It's not at all obvious who's in the right and our sympathies vary as the story progresses. Similarly the infected are both deformed objects of fear and pitiful victims trying to survive.
So what makes the film work is the different reactions of people to the events and how those people then interact under extreme circumstances. It's more about character than action but there's enough underlying story to maintain interest and tension.
Although generally intelligent the script does have some flaws and there are some definite areas where more than usual suspension of disbelief is required. That might be a side-effect of having four credited writers. Acting is excellent, especially Kingsley who is convincing in more ways than one. Woodley's direction suits the atmosphere well, though I do wish he'd managed to resist the lure of the shaky camera.
I was pleasantly surprised by The Carrier. If you're looking for all out action or gore then go elsewhere; this is a smart and engrossing piece of character driven story telling.