Remakes of foreign horror films are commonplace nowadays. There are so many of them, Im sure most American audiences dont even know theyre watching a remake. Quarantine however, has some advantage over other remakes. The original, the Spanish film [REC], has still not received a proper American R1 DVD release. Of course there are other ways of obtaining films before theyre released, but since Im a sucker for my subtitled DVD extras and English menu screens, I have not yet seen [REC] giving me a non-biased view of Quarantine.
News reporter Angela Vidal (Dexters Jennifer Carpenter) has been assigned to do a story on overnight duty firefighters. After joking around and flirting with the men on duty, an alarm sounds and the boys are called into action with Angela tagging along. They arrive at an apartment building to find a domestic disturbance situation that is more disturbing than they imagined. The firefighters, Angela and her cameraman, and the tenants of the apartment building become prisoners in the building as the police outside attempt to contain the situation. Theyd rather wipe the building off the map than let whatever is inside loose.
The entire film is shot from the point of view of Angelas cameraman. In this case, the documentary feel or “shaky cam” works in the films favor, helping the audience to get a sense of the terror these people feel trapped inside the apartment building. Just like the characters, we dont know whats coming around every corner, or whats coming down the stairs. It really adds to the tension.
That being said, the film really wouldnt work at all if main character Angela didnt deliver a stellar performance. Jennifer Carpenter really hit a home run with this film. Shes engaging the entire time, giving the audience a complete range of believable emotions. Shes the one on camera most of the time giving us the play by play and if she had given a phoned in performance, the film would not be the memorable film that it is. The rest of the cast was great too. Jay Hernandez (Hostel), an almost unrecognizable Jonathan Schaech (That Thing You Do!), Greg Germann (from TV’s Ally McBeal), Steve Harris (Diary of a Mad Black Woman) all deliver fine performances here.
Now for the stuff horror fans wait for the violence and gore. Technically speaking, this isnt a zombie film, but it has many zombie-like qualities. The “infected” are nasty looking people with pale faces, razor sharp teeth, and insatiable appetites. The gore is zombie-like as well, with limbs being ripped off, giant pieces of flesh being torn away, and blood spatter galore. The gore, coupled with the high tension created by the surroundings and our limited point of view, make Quarantine not only a decent remake, but a memorable horror film.
Presented in 1.85:1 aspect ration with Dolby Digital surround sound. The visual quality is great – the gore stands out perfectly against the grainy first person view. The surround sound is extra creepy too.
Locked In: The Making Of Quarantine – This is your standard making of, as told by the actors. 10:05
Dressing the Infected: Robert Hall’s Make-Up Design – This was the most interesting extra on the disc. Make-Up Artist Robert Hall had so many different ideas for the “infected”, it’s fascinating seeing them all come to life. And it’s fun seeing the cast go through make-up. 7:29
Anatomy of a Stunt – This is exactly what it says – how they shot ONE stunt. This extra is only 3:22 but felt twice as long. I have to say though, when you see the final stunt after seeing everything that went into it, it’s pretty cool.
Previews for Obsessed with Beyonce Knowles, and Passengers with Anne Hathaway.
As a horror movie, Quarantine delivers excellent performances, great gore, and the perfect amount of tension. Being a shot for shot remake of [REC], I may have been disappointed with Quarantine had I seen it second. Without any visual knowledge of the original, I think I was able to appreciate this movie more for what it was – a solid horror flick.
Sony Pictures presents Quarantine. Directed by: John Erick Dowdle. Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Jonathan Schaech, Steve Harris. Written by: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle, Jaume Balaguero, Luis Berdejo, Paco Plaza. Running time: 89 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: February 17, 2009. Available at Amazon.com