[Masthead] Fog/Mist ~ 37°F  
High: 51°F ~ Low: 39°F
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017

Quarantine / *** (R)

Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008, at 5:06 PM

Jennifer Carpenter can't escape the terror while under "Quarantine".
Screen Gems presents a film directed by John Erick Dowdle. Written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle. Based on the motion picture "[Rec]" by Jaume Balaguer-- & Luiso Berdejo & Paco Plaza. Running time: 89 min. Rated R (for bloody violent and disturbing content, terror and language).

It's one of those human-interest stories. We see a young reporter. Is this one of her first stories? She's putting together a piece on "a night in the life of an L.A. firehouse." Her cameraman is filming everything because he's been told he never gets enough B-roll. She's awkward on camera at times but charming. The firemen like her for more than just something new in the routine of the firehouse. Everybody is just waiting for that big call.

After a good amount of patience to establish the premise that all of this story will take place from the point of view of the reporter through the lens of her cameraman's camera, that call comes. One of the firemen informs the reporter that most calls to the fire department are actually medical in nature. They arrive at an apartment building and investigate a woman who has locked herself in her apartment. Once the landlord lets them into the apartment they find she is conscious but unresponsive to their questions. That is until she savagely attacks one of police officers on the scene.

These point of view mockumentary horror films are becoming a bit of a trend these days. January saw the release of the point of view creature feature "Cloverfield". But unlike "Cloverfield" the action of "Quarantine" is much easier to follow, and the camera work is less jittery. Having a professional cameraman as the character handling the camera work of the story allows for a much more focused and well-framed picture. Also the filmmakers have accounted for the fact that any self-preservationist would stop filming at some point; once power is cut to the building, the camera's light is about the only source of light left available to the heroes.

While the bouncing camera won't give as many people motion sickness, the nature of the horror may turn a few more stomachs. The filmmakers have provided a more realistic explanation of what might turn people into vicious flesh-eaters--a notion similar to the one provided in "28 Days Later". But the CDC is onto the viral outbreak before the people in the apartment building have even realized anything is really wrong, forcing them to try to deal with a savage attack and the fact that they are trapped inside at once. By cutting their characters off from the outside world, the filmmakers create a more claustrophobic experience than the typical zombie movie.

Jennifer Carpenter makes her bid here to be the new scream queen as the reporter Angela. Coming off other horror-related projects like "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" and the television series "Dexter", Carpenter proves to have likeability similar to that of Jamie Lee Curtis during her reign as scream queen in the early eighties. The establishing scenes at the firehouse allow her to warm the audience. And since she is rarely ever off camera, she shows strength of presence in the way she carries the audience along her terrifying ride.

Director/co-writer John Erick Dowdle and his brother co-writer Drew Dowdle borrowed their story from a Spanish film "[Rec]". The Brothers Dowdle do a great job structuring their film with little clues as to what is really going on and how it came about, but they keep the focus squarely on the terror of the victims. By placing the audience in the point of view of a participant they increase the audience's visceral reaction to the material and the whole thing makes for a thrilling and terrifying time. I just hope the CDC got that stuff contained.

"Quarantine" is now playing at the Galaxy 10 in Sedalia. Showtimes.

Be sure to check out my latest report from Horrorfest.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Hey Andy, this a completely irrelevant post, but I wanted to ask if you were going to get a chance to review David Zucker's "An American Carol."

The only theaters playing it that are remotely in the area are in Warrensburg or Columbia.

I've always liked the reviews you post and wanted to get your take on it before I decide whether or not to go see it.

-- Posted by "When the Music Plays..." on Thu, Oct 16, 2008, at 11:39 AM

Boy. I really would like to review it, but that is really just too far for me to go at this time. Of course, in these last few weeks before the election, politics has found its way into a great many releases. And it isn't surprising that politically mind people like yourself are curious about the worthiness of some of these films. The best I can tell you about An American Carol is that it hasn't fared well with critics in general. It currently stands at a sad 13% at RottenTomatoes.com. Of course, many critics are thought to have liberal leanings and it is my understanding it is a conservative point of view spoof on filmmakers like Michael Moore. I've seen a few films that have attacked the ultra-liberal Moore, but most of them aren't made very well. I certainly am not against a project criticizing any point of view. I believe satire is good for people. I just wish we could get more balance between the quality and quantity of liberal and conservative satire. And I wish I could see the movie so I could judge for myself.

-- Posted by ydnasllew on Thu, Oct 16, 2008, at 12:26 PM

If you have seen "Cloverfield" and didnt like it, you won't like this one either. It was filmed poorley. That was a waste of my time and money.

-- Posted by rjb81 on Mon, Oct 20, 2008, at 11:26 PM

Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

A Penny in the Well
Recent posts
Blog RSS feed [Feed icon]
Comments RSS feed [Feed icon]
Andrew is a professionally trained actor and stage director. He was a reporter for the daily newspaper The Marshall Democrat News. He has been critiquing film since Mr. Lucas released the first of his "Star Wars" prequels in 1999. His reviews can also be seen at his blog site.
Hot topics
San Andreas / *** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 9:31 PM, Jun 6)

Pitch Perfect 2 / *** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 10:29 PM, Jun 1)

Poltergeist / ** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 12:06 PM, May 30)

Mad Max: Fury Road / **** (R)
(0 ~ 11:03 PM, May 20)

Avengers: Age of Ultron / *** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 2:40 PM, May 16)