Review “Quarantine”

October 19, 2008 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

The latest in the ‘1st-person-perspective-fictional-film’ genre, Quarantine is a remake of the Spanish film REC.  Set in an apartment complex, Quarantine follows a small news crew as they attempt to survive a mutate form of rabies that turns humans into viciously aggressive animals.  Think The Blair Witch Project meets 28 Days Later.

Jennifer Carpenter (TV’s Dexter and 2005’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose) plays Angela, a reporter for a late-night news program.  Her and her cameraman, Scott (Steve Harris), are assigned to cover the graveyard shift of local firefighters.  What starts as a typical, and slightly boring, evening quickly turns nasty as the firefighters respond to a call at an old apartment complex.  Without giving too much away, an experimental virus gets out and begins to infect the residents.  Fearing an outbreak, local law enforcement, the Center for Disease Control, and various other agencies quickly quarantine the building, trapping everyone inside.

Aside from our news crew, other prominent members of the cast include firefighter Jake (Jay Hernandez), city cop Columbus (Danny Wilensky), apartment landlord Yuri (Rade Serbedzija) and music student Sadie (Dania Ramirez from Heroes).  Only Jake and Yuri serve real purposes in terms of plot, everyone else is just fodder for the rabbid humans.  The story itself is kinda interesting, and major details are only hinted at, since this is a horror flick and the audience is probably only interested in watching people get torn apart.

As for the scares themselves, most are of the ‘jump-out-and-say-boo!’ kind.  It works, for the most part, and there are a couple good ones here and there.  The best scene is at the end, which involves some very tense use of nightvision.  Similar to Silence of the Lambs, but in this case the protagonists can see the bad guys.  Unfortunately, the trailer for the film gives away the final shot of the movie, but halfway through you already know what the most obvious thing that’s going to happen will be.

What I appreciate about these movies, as opposed to typical teen slasher flicks, is how the characters react to the situations.  For example, in 28 Weeks Later, one of the best parts of the movie is the beginning, where you see the main character face a very difficult choice.  In Quarantine, they set up similar situations.  These decisions made in the moment are what drives me to keep watching, not the gruesome deaths.

Quarantine should find a nice audience in those looking for some cheap scares this Halloween.  I just wish the story was a little more developed as it was getting interesting right when all hell broke loose.  This does make me slightly more interested in seeing director John Erick Dowdle’s other 1st-person-horror-movie, The Pughkeepsie Tapes, which should be released some time next year.



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