Friday, May 8, 2009

Quarantine (2008)

Fear 3/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 3/5

Quarantine is a fun and entertaining, if imperfect remake of the Spanish film "Rec" which I have yet to see, but have moved up in my Netflix list. The premise is simple and has been done before, but it's still a good one. The film is designed as "footage" that was found after the "incident" that is on the film, in this case, a fledgling reporter and her cameraman getting quarantined in a building filled with people infected with a nutty strain of rabies. You've seen the "found footage" idea in Blair Witch, or the god-awful Cloverfield, but it's still novel enough to feel somewhat original.

The film itself has a nice pace, starting as a bouncy and somewhat slow fluff piece on life inside the local firehouse. The kind of "news story" that would normally air at the tail end of the late night news before Letterman comes on. As the location changes to the building that the fire crew has been called to, and the film's subjects start to realize that they have been locked in, it starts to feel less bouncy and more frantic. Once the building is locked down and the trapped people become infected one by one, the pace quickens, the tensions rise, the voices grow in volume and the film soon becomes a trip to one of those cheesy haunted houses that pop up near outlet malls or at Knott's Berry Farm on Halloween. That is to say: FUN.

So in one sense, it's a modern "zombie" movie ala Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later. The infected are raging, nearly indestructible and totally out for blood. At times, they are scary and the gore is pretty icky - man walking on broken leg. Ugh. And even when some of the carnage is off screen (man attacked by rabid dog in an elevator) it's still effective.

The best scene in the film, by far, involves killing one of the infected with the camera. As a friend of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi once said while Evil Dead was in production "Fellas, no matter what you do, keep the blood running down the screen." The best scene in Quarantine, by far, involves killing one of the infected with the camera and I think it's safe to say the film makers took that advice to heart.

Having the entire movie be filmed from the viewpoint of one guy's handheld camera gives it a nice feel overall. If you allow yourself to stop being distracted by the fact that NONE of this could ever happen, you might find yourself looking at it in the first person which makes it all the more fun.

But that's the bummer of the film. It doesn't do a great job of suspending belief. There is a lot of "why are they doing that" moments - you know, like when the kids sneak off to do exactly what they've been warned not to do, even knowing they might DIE. Or when the cops and firemen start freaking out and trying to get out the building - freaking out more than the tenants. In real life that probably would not happen. But maybe it would. I've met some cops that were real pussies.

But regardless, it's a safe bet that rabies that turns people into gut eating, murderous monsters certainly would never happen. So take it all with a grain of salt. I found myself letting go and having fun. . . until the end. It gets a bit stupid at the end. A little too over the top. See it and you'll know what I mean.

Still, I enjoyed this, warts and all. Recommended....maybe not 100%, but I'd certainly rent it. It's much better than most remakes, that's for sure. Is it better than the original? No idea. Let me get back to you on that.

- Complaint Dept

1 comment:

Cortez the Killer said...

OK, so there were far too many 'why are you doing that?' scenes in this movie. 'Ma'am, are you OK?' 'Little girl, are you OK?' Never mind the fucking foam coming out of their mouth or blood streaming down their face. Cap those motherfuckers! The film was definitely effective in some respects, but completely lacking any form of common sense in most. I'm torn. But the idea of being holed up in an old apartment building and having the prospect of being capped in the head if you try and leave, is definitely terrifying.