That Quarantine proves to be a redundant exercise in cheap horror antics has less to do with the fact that it’s both a remake of the 2002 Spanish feature [Rec] (as of yet unreleased in North America) as well as another in the line of point-of-view horror films than it is simply an affair that aims low and succeeds well in such, delivering blatantly manipulative thrills that suffice for visceral immediacy but lack for just about everything else, the end result being perhaps the most pleasantly disposable horror film shuffled into theaters since last year’s Skinwalkers. Even if Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Project had never happened, this affair would remain as one-dimensional in concept as it is in execution, the you-are-there device used to craft a real-time depiction of an apartment building being locked down to contain an infectious, rabies-like disease spreading inside—one that too quickly hits all the obvious dilemmas implicit in its zombie-reminiscent scenario to render them with anything but passing interest (think of it as Romero light): cops trapped in the building become a source for resentment from the civilian population, foolish behavior tests the survival instincts of the more intelligent survivors, and the collectively dawning realization that there exists no way out. That Quarantine comes to us free of phony platitudes is something of a relief, but equally troublesome is its dearth of subtext, a problem as unaided by the shoddily implemented point-of-view device—provided via a reporter and her cameraman who were unfortunate enough to be shadowing the fireman called to the building pre-lockdown (unlike any of its stylistic predecessors, Quarantine‘s use of camera feels like more of an excuse to shoot things fast and cheap than an attempt to provide thematic insight)—as it is by the contrived spontaneity of the performances. Save for a creepy use of infrared night vision, the film’s unsatisfying visuals allow an only halfway effective atmosphere to congeal about the proceedings, so much that even the most creative moments of intended shock—among them, the gory demise of one unfortunate rat, followed by a bloodthirsty rabies victim beaten to death by the cameraman with the camera—evaporate from the mind as swiftly as the end credits come to pass.
- Screen Gems
- 89 min
- John Erick Dowdle
- John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle
- Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech, Columbus Short, Andrew Fiscella, Rade Sherbedgia, Greg Germann, Bernard White, Dania Ramirez, Elaine Kagan, Marin Hinkle, Joey King, Jermaine Jackson, Sharon Ferguson, Denis O'Hare, Stacy Chbosky, Jeannie Epper, Doug Jones
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