• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives

  • Awards & Nominations

Non-Review Review: Quarantine

We all caught Quarantine last night (which is a remake of the Spanish horror [rec]), and we were – for the most part – impressed as a family of horror buffs. Somewhat less irritating than most films shot on handheld cameras (it’s trick that is growing increasingly passé in horror, to be fair) it delivers more than its fair share of jump-in-your-seat shock moments. Still I’m not entirely won over. It’s a movie that does what it says on the tin, but nothing more, and falls apart in the third act.

I'd love to see the B-Roll...

I'd love to see the B-Roll...

The plot, without spoiling anything, follows a reporter and her camera man as they spend a routine night with the fire brigade that eventually turns into anything but. The crew are called out to an apartment building and… well, all you need to know is in the title.

The movie suffers from many of the inherent weaknesses of films of this nature – it’s hard to create compelling characters in a situation where the audience knows that they’re pretty much all gonna die and it’s equally difficult to draw in talent strong enough to give these characters and sort of identity. There’s also an element of familiarity in horror films of this nature (particularly since they’ve become par for the course over the past few years). There is nothing original about this film – not that anyone attracted to the premise will be particularly put off by these flaws.

For all it’s formula, there are certain components that work very well. The use of ambient sound effects in place of a soundtrack, for example. The movement of the handheld camera adds an air of urgency but manages to avoid being nauseating. And most of the scary moments are actually scary – I think everyone in the family was on-edge.

The film’s first third does a relatively decent job of attempting to humanise our leads without seeming boring or exposition-filled. The scenes at the station are fun and energetic, and don’t drag on too long. The second act estabilishes the paranoia in the apartment block, gives us boatloads of characters and a decent amount of atmosphere and genuine shocks (and tense scenes). It’s worth stating again that it does this with a large amount of skill, managing to genuinely shock and startle. Then there’s the third act.

The third act suffers from trying to offer us a neatly wrapped-up reason for the outbreak and the carnage we have witnessed. The terror seems so much scarier when you don’t know what’s causing it, just as the shadows are scarier when you don’t know what’s hiding in them. It doesn’t help that the movie provides a cause that is thoroughly uncreative, unoriginal and unnecessary explanation. Though I may be in the minority here, as my brother and our aunt didn’t seem to think that the focus on the cause of the pandemic was out of place at all.

So, it isn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a good horror film that manages to be a step above most of the other Hollywood productions. Its middle segment features some genuine scares and though it is let down by a disappointing climax and finale, it should impress most fans of the genre. There are better examples of the genre (and the handheld horror subgenre) out there, but this will do in a pinch. Or a bite.
Quarantine is a remake of the Spanish horror [rec] directed by John Erick Dowdle and starring Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), Jay Hernandez (Hostel), Steve Harris (The Practice, Minority Report), Dania Ramirez (Heroes, X-Men III), Rade Serbedzija (24) and Greg Germann (Ally McBeal, Down to Earth). It was released in the USA on the 10th October 2008 and in the UK and Ireland on 21st November 2008.

3 Responses

  1. […] Zombie Revolution Will Not be Televised… By Darren I watched Quarantine with my aunt, uncle and brother last night. It was fairly okay – it did pretty much exactly […]

  2. […] footage does look better on a smaller screen (it’s less dizzying – see Cloverfield or Quartantine for example) and maybe the film will look better on the medium it was clearly intended for. See it […]

  3. […] Erick Dowdle, the guys responsible for the quite good (but not a patch on the Spanish original) Quarantine. Being honest, it could go either way, but the premise – several strangers trapped in a lift […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: