If you thought I'd let October slip by without reviewing a zombie movie, then you've got some nerve, pal. Quarantine is a remake of a Spanish horror flick called REC. Apparently it's gotten to the point in Hollywood where movies that were released in 2007 are already being re-made, but hey this is America and we like things fresh dammit so why the hell not.
The concept is pretty cool; a zombie movie shot in the same shaky handheld camera style as Cloverfield. All you diehard zombie buffs out there probably know this idea was tried already in George A. Romero's, Diary of the Dead, but since that movie wasn't too widely accepted this is Quarantine's time to shine.
The story starts out pretty strong and sucks you into the action well enough. We're following along with amateur reporter Angela Vidal and her cameraman (who we see way more than hear) Scott Percival. They're doing a report on the boys of the local Fire Department and areshadowing them wherever they go for the entire night. After somepretty solid hilarity at the firehouse, the entire group is called out to a medical emergency at a nearby apartment building. Upon arrival they discover a woman who is very sick and unstable (read: zombie) and before getting a chance to evacuate her so she can be treated by medics a fight breaks out and one of the firefighters gets seriously injured. Heading back down to the lobby, they find out that the police, news, and Center for Disease Control are all on the scene and have completely locked the entire building down from the outside. This is when the fun stuff starts happening that we all expect from a good zombie flick; why are we being locked in, are they sending help, who isleft in the building, what the hell is everyone sick with, have you been bitten? Don't lie to me, yadda yadda yadda.
It's all awesome stuff at the start. I personally love zombie movies, but that doesn't mean that I'm naturally going to thumbs-up every one that I see. Diary of the Dead was mildly decent, but I can certainly say that Quarantine is much better. Unlike Cloverfield or even The Blair Witch Project, there aren't very many moments that make you ask yourself "what the hell is going on?" in Quarantine. The shaky camera style is the same, but for the most part director John Erick Dowdle (who pretty much hasn't done anything before this) does a good job of keeping you in the action without the motion sickness.
Unfortunately, Quarantine starts to lose it the closer it gets to the end, and in the last 5 minutes just made me really, really sad. Half of it is the fault of the filmmakers. They had a really good premise to make an intense zombie movie experience (including one of the first times I've ever heard a reasonable explanation for the ?disease': human rabies), and rushed it to the point where the last quarter of the movie is just running, hearing loud noises, and actress Jennifer Carpenter losing all of her on screen personality while screaming excessively.
I can't give away WHY the ending sucks so hard without actually ruining it for you, so we're brining back drumroll Hidden Text! If you don't want to highlight the following passage, I won't leave you out in the cold completely. Here's the short of it; Quarantine starts off as a great and suspenseful movie until it rushes itself into a series of events you'd expect at a Halloween ?haunted house' with an incredibly weak ending.
For those who want the weakness of the ending explained, click your heels 3 times and highlight the hidden text!
Quarantine's ending made everyone in the theater simultaneously get extremely mad because everyone predicted the ending 10 minutes before it actually happened. Why you might ask? The damn trailers.
The final shot in Quarantine is the shot in the damned trailer for the movie that we've seen on TV a thousand times. Hell, it's the shot from the friggin' PROMOTIONAL POSTER for Christ's sake. That would be like if the promotional poster for Fight Club was Edward Norton seated across from Brad Pitt in the hotel room with the tagline "He just found out they're the same person". I had to admit when I saw the trailer, I thought to myself "Wait a minute, isn't that the lead character? Is she getting dragged off/killed? I mean she has to be, the camera is motionless on the floor, so there's no one left alive they wouldn't do that, would they? Maybe it's one of those shots they film but never put into the movie". Nope. I would like to extend a nice warm personal "F*ck You" to the marketing team behind Quarantine, and hope that everyone in the movie making business can learn from this entire ordeal.
The Bottom Line: Ending aside, I still felt goodabout this movie overall and wouldn't mind seeing it again. To everyone who is a fan of the zombie movie genre, and to those of you who really liked Cloverfield, you'll probably like Quarantine.
Grade: On the ?Romero' scale, not as good as Dawn of the Dead, but certainly more engaging than Diary of the Dead. Entertaining overall with a really exciting start, but the rush/decline towards the climax is going to land this at around a B-