Horror Guy Keenan’s ‘Quarantine’ Review

Earlier this week I had the chance to check out Sony Screen Gems’ Quarantine, which is now in theaters everywhere. For the first time in the eight years running this site, I found myself with a severe case of writer’s block, not because I couldn’t think of what to write, but because I felt like I had seen and reviewed the movie already. Almost exactly a year ago I saw the Spanish horror film [REC], which soon became to be the remake known as QUARANTINE. Being that the film is a shot-for-shot remake, I found it incredibly difficult to review again, although I think both films are quite effective. So, while we wait for an official review from David Harley, or Tex, inside you can check out a guest review from B-D’s Horror Guy Keenen. Write Your Own Reviews!….
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Tonight Bloody-Disgusting hosted a screening of QUARANTINE here in Orlando, Florida. David Harley and myself were on hand talking with fans of the BD podcast and getting their insight on their anticipation for the film. Most of the horror fans had already seen the film [REC] (the film QUARANTINE is a remake of) and were pretty much anticipating the same thing… only in English. The rest of the crowd showed up just wanting to get the pee scared out of them – and let me tell you, the ushers were definitely going to be working overtime tonight…

QUARANTINE follows a young reality TV show host named Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) who are doing a show about people who work during the night while the rest of the world sleep (yeah, I wouldn’t watch it either). This particular episode takes them to the Los Angeles fire department where the crew hoping to get a fire has a pretty uneventful night, which is until a distress call comes in that takes them to an old apartment building in the city. A squad car is already on scene after getting reports that a blood-curdling scream was coming from one of the rooms. They soon learn that the old woman has been infected by something unknown and starts attacking them. After a few people are infected and the residents try to flee, they quickly find out that the building has been “quarantined” by the CDC. With the infection growing, there are few places to hide and time is running out.

Now for all you who don’t know, QUARANTINE is based on a Spanish film that was released in 2007 called [REC]. From what I am told, both of these films are pretty much scene for scene. Not wanting to spoil QUARANTINE, I made it a point not to see [REC] `til after I viewed this film.

The amazing thing about this movie is that the suspense never stops! Anywhere in this building someone can get you at any time. Even in the middle of a conversation in your bedroom something can scream and leap out of the shadows. You know this after the first half hour of the film and it frightens you till no end. The infected are not slow at all – in fact, they haul ass.

You can expect lots of shaky cam work because of the first person theme. This is one thing that kind of bugged me about the film. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the new handheld horror film craze that’s going around nowadays, but where [REC] used allot of wide angels to show the infected and what was going on, QUARANTINE uses way to many close ups. There are so many that a lot of them are out of focus and you cannot tell what is happening. And I get it, it’s more “realistic”, but on the big screen it does get kind of sickening after a while. I think CLOVERFIELD executed this much better than QUARANTINE.

One key element that I really enjoyed about this film was that there is no score… none whatsoever! There were no sound effects to build you up to the scares; you are just in a dark room with the characters when tragedy strikes. It’s funny reflecting on how much you rely on a score and sound effects to hold your hand through a film, but when it’s gone you almost feel helpless.

Even through all the good, some scenes are still pretty laughable, but I think they are meant to be this way to throw you off for future scares. The gore is pretty top notch from ripped muscle to bones sticking out – it’s all here.

The acting was not as bad as I thought it would be and the story is very solid. It keeps on with the excitement and scares with no end in sight. I have not seen a film in along time that has made my girlfriend almost break my hand from squeezing it so hard. It’s almost as if it’s a scare-o-meter.

It’s nice to finally see a scary film in theaters this year (I thought there was no hope for us). Though sadly, if you have already seen [REC] then you have already seen QUARANTINE. And if you have seen trailers for Quarantine, 50% of the main events that occur in the film have been spoiled for you. When will marketing learn…besides that, this film is one of the best this year.

8/10

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