Quarantine (2008) re-make of the Spanish horror film Rec (2007) and stars Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris and Jay Hernandez and was directed by John Erik Dowdle. The film is in set in present day Los Angeles.
The film follows Angela Vidal (Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott as they are making a documentary about a fire station. They accompany a fire crew to a routine call to an apartment block, on arrival they find police already at the scene and they hear harrowing screams coming from one of the apartments upstairs. The firemen and the police go to investigate with Angela and her trusty cameraman in tow. They enter the apartment and encounter a woman stood deadly still covered in blood. One of the Policeman tentatively goes over to woman and she viciously attacks him. They then try and get the injured policeman out of the building only to find that the building has been quarantined by the government and all Televisions, radios and phones have been cut off. While waiting for news from the outside Lawrence, a vet who lives in the apartment, suggests that an infection similar to rabies is going round and is making the infected extremely violent. A scientist from the outside then enters the apartment and says he is here to conduct tests on the infected. Upon completing the test he confirms that there is an infection and it is passed on through the blood stream. Angela, Scott and the other survivors then try and find a way out of the apartment without being attacked by the infected.
The film is shot in a documentary style with the use of handheld cameras similar to that of the Blair Witch Project. This immerses viewer right in the middle of the action; it’s as if the viewer IS Scott the cameraman. This style of camerawork fits in with the documentary feel of the film and adds to it especially in the sequence when Scott is fighting off one of the infected with his camera. The viewer is forced to watch as Scott repeatedly hits one of the infected with the lens of his camera, the view is then obscured as blood gets on to the lens and this becomes very uncomfortable as it is un-relentless.
One of the biggest criticisms of the film I have is the portrayal of the majority of the characters in the film, especially in the first 15 minutes of the film. Angela Vidal seems more interested in flirting with any fire-fighter with a pulse than doing her job. She then overhears two of the fire-fighter making a bet as to who can sleep with her first and her reaction is one of almost pride that they want to sleep with her. The portrayal of the fire-fighters is far too stereotypical in the sense that they very sexist and sleazy and come across like they are superheroes. I shouldn’t really be that surprised considering it is a Hollywood remake of a European film and character development isn’t Hollywood forte. As result of this I found myself not really wanting our protagonist to survive and hoping they would get their comeuppance.
All in all Quarantine is a fairly decent effort at a horror film. It offers an intriguing plot and enough scares and gore to entertain its audience without really excelling it what is a fairly overused genre. However if you have seen the original Rec I would avoid this movie like the plague as you are likely to be hugely disappointed as I was.