Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Quarantine

Quarantine (2008)
Genre: Horror
Format: Blu-ray
Director: John Erick Dowdle

Quarantine is a remake of the highly acclaimed Spanish film [Rec], a movie that I have been meaning to watch but never really gotten the chance to. Though the original was available to be rented on Netflix, I made an error in my queuing and ended up having Quarantine shipped out to me first. This mistake though is definitely a blessing in disguise because after doing a little research after watching it, I found out that many testified that it was very close to the original in terms of the direction and overall delivery. It doesn't matter either way though when the result is this satisfying to someone who hasn't seen the original.

The movie is basically a concoction of your typical zombie movie infused with the Blair Witch styled first person shaky video camera perspective. A female television reporter and her cameraman are both following a small crew of firefighters while they go about their routine at the fire station. Later, all of them ended up in an apartment building after receiving an ambiguous distress call. What follows are some of the most intense cinematic horror experience ever captured in cinema verite film-making. The thing that makes it very successful is how we, the audience, are directly transported right into the scenes because it always feels like we are all watching everything i being unveiled right around us. The documentary style storytelling and the voyeuristic nature of the handheld camera have never been implemented so brilliantly. The credit for this of course is not with the remake's director, but the original filmmakers Jaume Balagueró and Placo Plaza even though Dowdle must be commended for making everything work brilliantly here. The movie has a haunting, sinister tone to it that escalates into one of the most horrific climaxes in the genre. The last set piece here easily overshadows even Blair Witch's fever-pitched final scene. I don't think I will be able to forget it - ever.

When it comes to Hollywood remakes, you can't expect much to come out of the recycled, remixed materials but that is certainly not the case with Quarantine. The ending itself has elevated this movie to a high standard that cannot be easily replicated. The original directors are going to have [Rec]2 out in the theaters this October and supposedly this will be followed by a release of Quarantine 2. One would hope that Dowdle will be tasked for the job so that he can use his copy mastery all over again. By the way, this is Dowdle's second movie after The Poughkeepsie Tapes - a 2007 documentary style horror movie about the discovery of VHS tapes recorded by a serial killer. I have been waiting for the home release of that movie on DVD or Blu-ray for a long time now.

RATING: 5 out of 5


Blake said...

I bought this movie the min it came out and had the reverse reaction.
I'm a big horror movie buff and I know full well that maybe 1 outta 10 horror movies are actually good.

Yeah, I didn't like this movie at all. I was just yelling at the girl to shut up through the whole thing. Stupid broad, can't keep her mouth closed.

Anyway, I was so hoping for something good and was disappointed. Just goes to show what different people take from the same movie. Interesting!

Loner Gamer said...

:) I agree that all that shrieking by the main actress was annoying but it made sense to me within the overall context of the film, especially with where the story was going towards the end. I like the idea of her being cool and a bit arrogant at the beginning to the panic-stricken hysteric she ended up becoming.

Good horror movies are hard to find but when they're good, they are usually very very good ^_^ It's always fun to discover them.