Before I start, really Shaun? Star Trek, best movie of 2009? Watchmen, The Soloist, The Spirit, Valkyrie, Sherlock Holmes, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, or Pixar’s Up, and you choose Star Trek? 😛 It’s a stretch… ok, on to the review…
Hollywood has decided to give American audiences the pleasure of remaking yet another foreign horror movie for our sometimes oblivious and willing eyes. Quarantine is a remake of the Spanish film Rec (Gasp, it’s not from Japan!) which came out just September of last year. Hollywood didn’t even let Rec find an audience before they decided to remake it. Also, this isn’t a traditional remake in the sense of adapting the story and making your film. No, Quarantine is a near shot for shot imitator a la Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, with a few things thrown in. However, keep in mind that all of this information was discovered after watching the movie, so I suppose I fall into the oblivious and willing eyes that make up my prior insult. Aren’t I smart?
Quarantine is directed by John Erick Dowdle, a man I previously knew for…nothing, and stars Jennifer Carpenter (of TV’s Dexter) and Steve Harris. The movie opens up with Carpenter’s Angela Vidal standing in front of a fire station, ready for a night watch report where she’ll observe the firemen and possible go out on a call before the night’s though. Here we meet the two firemen that she shadows played by Jay Hernandez and Johnathon Schaech. It is important to note here that while watching these first fifteen minutes I was severely bored. The movie literally doesn’t find it’s pace at the beginning fire department scenes and all the characters come off as a little annoying.
Of course eventually the call comes in and Angela is off with her two firemen and camera man to investigate what could seemingly be nothing more than an old lady who’s fallen and can’t get up. They enter the building and find several people in the lobby, scared out of their minds. Apparently a woman had made a very scary scream from the third floor and everyone gathered downstairs. After this you can pretty much assume that the woman turns out to be less than normal and the movie finally takes off.
Now I’m not going to bite into anyone’s acting too much because this is a movie that doesn’t entirely rely on it’s actors for it’s quality. Sure Carpenter could have done more with her character and she spends most of her screen time sprawled up in the corner either in stunned silence or in a panicked screaming fury, but you don’t really expect Oscar worthy monologues from these characters. So for this movie I’ll leave acting at rest, and say that there’s not much going on here in terms of acting, but not much is needed or expected.
No, the only thing I cared about going into this movie was how scared I was going to get. I f I got a great story line or the next Exorcist then it would have been a bonus, but keep in mind my expectations weren’t that high. I went in expecting several jump scares and plenty of gore, and while I got several jump scares I was pleasantly surprised to find the gore to be at a minimum. Every once in a while you’d see a cracked bone walking or some flesh, but nothing of Saw caliber and I respected that decision.
Overall the movie wasn’t bad at all. It had enough scares to keep me interested (after the first painstaking fifteen minutes that is), some parts were predictable and at other times the characters did the same idiotic things that people tend to do in horror movies so that was irritating. But still I enjoyed it, I sat through it, ate my popcorn, jumped at some scenes, and looking back I still thoroughly enjoy one scene in particular involving a camera death. The acting was annoying but not important, and if I have to give another gripe over the movie I would say that the trailer gives away the entire ending so the last ten minutes can get a little anti climatic. 3/5, and I recommend this to anyone who might want a quick scare, but try to catch it at a matinee viewing, as it’s not full deserving of the eight dollars that theaters charge now a days.
P.S. and you can watch the entire movie REC on you tube, it comes with English subtitles and I highly recommend it, I found it much better than Quarantine, and it actually gave me good acting, which exceeded my expectations and made it all the better.