Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review - Quarantine

A news reporter and her camera man are assinged to shadow a two firemen for the night and are sent on a emergency call to an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. Once inside the apartment building the reporter and firemen quickly realize the situtation is far more serious then thought. The group are sealed in the building in what they soon find out is an outbreak of rabies that has a deadly effect on anyone who contracts the virus.

"Quarantine" is a remake of a spanish based film called [Rec] and utilizes the same shaky camera work we have seen in films like Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. Writer and director John Erick Dowdle does a good job with the setup of Quarantine and its suspense throughout, but once the reporter and others are trapped inside the building the film quickly spirals out of control.

The very thing that Quarantine uses to try and seperate itself from other zombie films, is the very same thing that hurts it. The first person camera work becomes more of a nusance and makes the film very hard to watch and follow in points. The film only uses the camera angle of the camera man and at points it hinders the story so much the viewer is taken out of the story completely. I found myself more times than not, trying to just figure out what was going on, losing the impact of the violent outbreak. Some of the scenes with the first person camera angle was really cool. In particular when the survivors were hustling up and down the stairs trying to find a safety. Unfortunately, these moments of clarity are few and far between that the film suffers from the camera work.

The actors within Quarantine are simply a supporting cast. There are no stars in the bunch at all. Jay Hernandez delivers the best performance here, but is nothing worth noting. Jennifer Carpenter plays the reporter who seems a very strong willed female lead from the get go, but quickly turns into a typical bumbling and sniveling damsel in distress that is hard to stay connected or concerned with her character. More or less, you have no connection with any of the cast and aren't surprised or care when they each meet their own fates.

The finale of Quarantine is a major disappointment. I can tell you that if you have seen the trailers or seen the one-sheet for Quarantine, you've seen the ending and just dont realize it. It seriously leaves the viewer saying that's it? No way! Where Blair Witch Project excelled with the cut away ending, Quarantine's feels much cheapier and leaves the viewer saying, "So what!"

Overall, Quarantine was a big disappointment for genre films that I love. I had much higher hopes for this film based on the marketing, but left it wishing I hadn't wasted my time. The performances were anti-climatic and flat leaving the viewer no connection to the characters in peril. The jerky camera work was simply a nusance, which left you wishing the director abanded the trendy style and had gone with a more traditional camera work. In a month you'd hope we'd have some good Halloween horror films releasing all were getting is this heaping pile of crap and yet another Saw movie that should have ended two sequels ago. Finally Quarantine is not worth it's admission and will be better served viewing once it hits cable next Halloween.

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