34- Quarantine [5.5]
Television reporter Angela Vidal and her cameraman are assigned to spend the night shift with a Los Angeles Fire Station. After a routine 911 call takes them to a small apartment building, they find police officers already on the scene in response to blood curdling screams coming from one of the apartment units. They soon learn that a woman living in the building has been infected by something unknown.
Having not seen Rec, the movie on which Quarantine is based, I can’t compare the remake to the original. On its own, Quarantine is an entertaining horror film with a few good scares, especially in its excellent third act. The biggest flaw of the movie are the logical lapses that take the viewer out of the tone that the first act establishes. From the beginning, the movie goes for a documentary feel, such as when the television cameraman will test volumes off-screen and the reporter will fumble her lines. Though I won’t bother getting into a dissection on the shaky camera approach (it’s been covered a lot, and particularly well here), I found the cameraman to be pretty inept at filming, even before the horror kicks in.
The cameraman is filming virtually the entire time because we’re told (almost comically, a number of times) that they “have a right to show people what’s happening”. Yet, considering the situation at hand, it becomes fairly implausible for him to keep the camera rolling while the situation is unfolding. He exhibits hardly any fear as he’s shooting, yet he’s at more of a disadvantage than those without heavy equipment in hand. Jennifer Carpenter overacts frequently on Dexter, and occasionally falls into that trap in Quarantine as well. Her character is portrayed in the beginning as a slight goof-off, so it became hard to believe that her journalistic integrity would carry-on throughout the events in the movie.
Quarantine is saved by its last half hour, a very well choreographed bunch of scenes in which the intensity keeps rising. The lack of score is very effective, and the infected are pretty frightening. Confined spaces can make for great horror, and Quarantine capitalizes on that with its claustrophobic feel.