Thursday, October 16, 2008


This is the newest movie employing the film-making style pioneered by the Blair Witch Project. Quarantine is a remake of the Spanish horror movie, [Rec], coming no more than a year after the original. The movie is a rather straight forward thriller. A camera crew is following a fire brigade for a night when they are called to a disturbance at an old apartment building. After an old woman attacks one of them, they discover that the Center for Disease Control has quarantined the building. The rest of the movie is spent following the residents trying figure out what's going on, and just trying to survive- with the news crew filming the entire thing.

Quarantine had an interesting advertising campaign- similar to that of Cloverfield. Leaked video about this "Actual event" that the government was trying to cover up. What? You mean you didn't actually see any of these videos they put out last year? Guess the promoters were a little too secretive for it to do any good. Hence the more recent barrage of traditional trailers hyping the movie.

The movie started out mediocre. It opens with Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) touring the fire-station with a group of uncouth firemen. This is cut short when they get a call. Upon arriving at an apartment building they find a diseased lady who attacks them. Before they are able to get her out, the building is locked up, and they're trapped inside- to try to survive. Neither them nor the residents have any idea what is going on, just that nobody is going to be allowed out. Fortunately Angela and Scott are there to record the entire thing.

What really set Cloverfield apart was the spectacular production value (the monster aside) integrated into a low budget hand-held look. This was done very well. Quarantine on the other hand, just looks shaky. Sure it's supposed to have that style, and you can't expect someone fighting diseased zombie-esque people to record, let alone hold a camera steady, but there's a fine line between conveying that style, and just being confusing. There were far too many parts of the movie where I had no idea what was happening.

The acting was pretty bad, but it usually is in movies like this. It was certainly better than the performances in the similarly styled Diary of the Dead. The opening scenes in the firehouse were nothing short of awkward, but it got a little better as it progressed. Unfortunately as the acting got better, everything else got worse. I think the lowest point was when they smashed in the head of one of the infected with the camera itself. Magically the blood smeared lens didn't break, and was cleaned in the next shot.

The movie had potential, but unfortunately didn't live up to what I was hoping. It is very similar to [REC] (which I may throw up a review of as well), but every aspect was one step lower than the original. If you're going to make a remake so soon after the original, you better make better, or at least different. This was more of a generic brand knock-off.


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