Sunday, November 30, 2008


Year: 2008
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Greg Germann, Columbus Short, Rade Serbedzija

Ah, another first person view horror flick. When The Blair Witch Project first came up with this idea, where a story is told from 'discovered footage', it was a damn cool idea. J.J. Abrams then followed up the trend with Cloverfield earlier this year. What's good about films like these is the realism, the feel that you yourself are running and experiencing the happenings live.

Quarantine is just that kind of film. An apartment building in LA was sealed off by the CDC (Centre Of Disease Control) after an outbreak of a deadly virus there. None of the residents made it out alive. What you see in this film is footage from a camera belonging to a news crew assigned to shadow the fire department during the night shift. The footage was all that's left in the building when it was over.

In it you will see Angela Vidal, the host of the show and her cameraman Scott Percival following two firemen into the building answering a distress call involving an old lady. The lady goes berserk and bites a policeman and one of the firemen. Before they can get help, the building is cordoned off by the authorities. Angela, Scott, a policeman, the other fireman and the residents are now trapped with no way out. Chaos starts to take full swing, first when the people inside have no idea what's going on, then when they discover a virus that infects them and turns them into bloodthirsty killers, it's pandemonium with a capital P.

Quarantine is a remake actually, of the Spanish film [REC]. I found the trailer to [REC] on Youtube, and it's uncanny how similar the two films are. Even the girl in [REC] is named Angela Vidal. As in Cloverfield, you can expect shaky camerawork and the absence of music, to create the realism required. And to a great extent, it succeeds. Added to the fact that you're in a small apartment building with very little lighting, and you get a dark, claustrophobic environment. With rabid humans right on your tail....oh yeah, it can get tense indeed. The last half hour of the film, when the last handful of the uninfected try their darndest to save themselves is truly blood-pumping. And I gotta give credit to the filmmakers for giving us a camera's point of view of a camera being used to bludgeon a person to death. That was awesome.

So what's not good about it? One: Jennifer Carpenter. When things go bad, she continuosly freaks out, and screams every freaking second. After a while, it can get pretty damn annoying. Two: The story takes a tad too long to get started. Naturally the footage has to start at the fire station before they get the call to go there. But they wasted a lot of time at the beginning having fun with the lead characters, so that slowed things down a bit.

Nevertheless, as a horror flick, it delivers enough scares in a space of 90 minutes. If you're afraid of the dark, you may not want to watch this alone. (3.5/5)

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