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  Quarantine As It Happens
Year: 2008
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Stars: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech, Columbus Short, Andrew Fiscella, Rade Serbedzija, Greg Germann, Bernard White, Dania Ramirez, Elaine Kagan, Marin Hinkle, Joey King, Sharon Ferguson, Denis O'Hare, Doug Jones
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) was filming with her cameraman Scott Percival (Steve Harris) for their regular late show Night Shift, and this evening had settled on the city's fire department as their destination. As they arrived and she was presenting her introduction, a number of fire engines emerged from the front doors and zoomed off into the night, prompting her to wish they could have gone with them, but she had plenty to interview inside the building. After an hour or so of learning about the machinations of the establishment, she finally got her wish...

But she would have been better staying at home, especially if she had taken the time to seek out a Spanish horror movie called REC, of which Quarantine was a remake, and an extremely swift one at that. Such was the demand for English language horror movies that could be made cheaply and efficiently all the better to see profits from the legions of moviegoers who disliked watching films with subtitles that this item made its money back quite comfortably within a few short weeks of its release, and all without the need for favourable reviews as there was a ready made audience for such things who would go and see a scary movie, any one, at the weekend.

Director John Erick Dowdle knew better than to mess with any formula, so if you had enjoyed the original you may find a distinct sense of deja vu as you watched this. Indeed, for much of this it was shot-for-shot remake time, offering a carbon copy rather than a truly inspired reimagining, with any slight deviations from the source adding nothing when the overwhelming impression was seen it all before, and seen it better. That's if you had actually seen it before, as if you were coming to this fresh, not knowing what it was about, you might have enjoyed it more having nothing to compare it to.

Well, maybe not nothing, because Quarantine and its inspiration were very much part of the zombie movie and found footage genres, a cross between them which some productions had investigated, notably George A. Romero in his Diary of the Dead, which had been overshadowed by, that's right, REC. There was little chance of Quarantine overshadowing much thanks to its failure to become its own entity, so it could be that even if you were unaware it was a remake, you would still be getting that feeling of overfamiliarity as the plot unfurled. That was not to say it was a dead loss, it did have its better moments if you decided to stick with Angela and see where the night took her.

Carpenter had evidently been hired on the strength of her performance in the execrable Exorcism of Emily Rose, thanks to her talent for depicting sinew-straining anguish which got quite a workout here, especially in the latter stages when the chaos took hold. What happens is that she and Scott accompany a fire crew to an apartment building where it seems an old woman had locked herself into her home for some days and is refusing to come out. The door is broken down, the woman emerges, and promptly takes a bite out of one of the firemen in traditional zombie fashion, except here everyone thinks what is being spread is rabies in some form or another, and so the panic - and the infection - takes hold. Making matters worse is that the authorities quickly contain the disease by sealing the place, so none of the residents can escape as they succumb one by one. But you knew that, and Quarantine had little to add to a perfectly decent original.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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