Quarantine

Ever since I saw [REC], I've been highly anticipating this movie. Now that I've finally seen it, I can review it... sort of. I'm going to do something different with this review (and possibly a little lazy). Because the two movies are practically the same (hell, even the setting looks exactly the same), with only a few differences, I'm going to paste my review for [REC] and make a few commentaries on it to see whether or not things have changed (the exception is the movie summary, which is the same, but with different actor names in the parenthesis, and a couple different character names). To avoid confusion, I'm replacing the name Pablo with [Scott], who is the cameraman in each respective version.

Quarantine is about a young television reporter, Angela (Jennifer Carpenter), and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris), who are filming a night in the life of the local fire station. She teams up with two of the firemen, Jake (Jay Hernandez) and Fletcher (Johnathon Schaech), and discovers how firehouse life is actually quite boring on average. But when they get a middle-of-the-night call to an apartment complex about an elderly woman giving blood-curdling screams, Angela, Scott, and their firemen acquaintances make their way to the building. However, upon reaching the place, they discover something else much darker than they were expecting is happening. The elderly woman bites a policeman and one of the firemen, and the entire complex suddenly find themselves in the middle of a government quarantine with no explanation as to what is going on or why. But all they know is that there are two dying men who need to get to a hospital and a very sick little girl with a fever. And everything slowly becomes more and more chaotic from there.

     [I have to say, this movie was intense. It started off kind of slow, but once they reached the apartment complex, the pace picked up considerably before dropping off for a little bit, and then hitting hard again non-stop to the end. My adrenaline was constantly pumping, my heart going fast, and I even jumped a few times.]

     This still holds true. In fact, the fire station stuff seemed to be even longer in this version, though there was a lot more comedy this time around to get through it. However, whereas the original bounced in pace, this one never really slowed down much after it hit the apartment complex.

     [However, one of the movie's major downfalls is that it focuses primarily on the intensity and not the characters. The only characters I really had any kind of feeling for were Angela and [Scott]. There are a few introductions to characters during the middle slow part of the movie, but not enough to really get a good feel for them. You know they're just there to raise the body count. The movie would have been much better had they extended the incredibly short length of the movie (it clocks in, without credits, at less than 80 minutes) in order to focus more on character development.

     If you haven't figured it out yet, this movie is shot in a similar fashion to The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Diary of the Dead (except it was out before the latter two). But as I said, it didn't have the same character focus that, say, Cloverfield had. I didn't care about [Scott] in the same fashion that I cared about Hud. But enough about the characters.]

     This was remedied slightly in this version. However, while Quarantine does have the brief interview section that the original had, it's much shorter and doesn't get around to all of the people within the complex, making for even fewer times to get to know the other characters. But on the other hand, I felt for the fireman Jake and the policeman, as well, which I didn't feel in the original version. Also, the cameraman Scott (Pablo in the original) is actually shown quite a few times, unlike in [REC], where he's not shown at all. I felt this made for more of a personal connection, letting us at least see him a couple times (like with Hud in Cloverfield).

     [The visuals of the movie are really good. There are some cool shots and angles, and quite a few less-is-more approach shots, in which you only see quick glimpses before the camera pans away, or you only hear noises. There are some great uses of the camera, as well, such as the night vision and the camera light (much like in the subway scene of Cloverfield). Though there was a rewind/fast-forward sequence that didn't make sense, because as far as I'm aware (though I could be wrong), you can't record yourself rewinding and fast-forwarding.]

     My favorite scene from the original (the upper window into medical room sequence) made it into this version, so that made me really happy, though I think it was filmed better in the original. Also, I was incredibly happy with the fact that the one scene goes toward the whole rewind/fast-forward scene (just like in the original), but then doesn't show it and just cuts to the next scene. It's like they listened to me on that point! Overall, I think the camera work was pretty equal to the original, though this version didn't mind showing more gore and whatnot, and it never cut away as quickly.

     [As for the zombies, they look really creepy from what you see of them (like I said, quick glimpses). Though they're almost more like The Infected from the 28 _____ Later films, except I would moreso argue that these are actually zombies, unlike the ones in those films. The origin of the zombies is somewhat attempted to be explained, but isn't fully done so, which I think is nice. Movies that try to explain their monsters sometimes end up hokier than they would have been otherwise. Instead, it leaves it more up to speculation.]

     As I said, you do see a lot more of them in this version, though only by a little bit. And here's where I have my biggest comments. The entire explanation was changed for this version, and I find that very intriguing. In the original, it was a very religious explanation from what was shown, which was very little. In this version, a lot more explanation into what was going on was given, and it was totally scientific instead. So I think the switch from religion to science in the adaptation from Spanish to American is highly interesting. And because of this switch, the zombies are totally different. They start like something from one of the 28 ______ Later films, but then become more zombie-like (with the whole dead and coming back to life thing, which doesn't happen in the aforementioned films). But they still act more like The Infected, and the reasoning isn't too far off from those, either. So it's really odd, but it works.

     [The acting is done really well, mostly from the lead actress, [Jennifer Carpenter]. I really didn't notice many (if any) parts that really brought me out of the movie due to poor acting.]

     I'd have to change this up for the new version. Jennifer Carpenter started to get really annoying towards the end. Her constant freaking out and screaming and whining started to really bug me. There was also one poorly acted part from the main police officer. Otherwise, the acting was well done. I'd say the best performance went to the man behind the camera, Steve Harris.

     Overall, it had some parts better than the original, and some parts that the original did better. I'd still recommend both, but for a few different reasons. I think they build off each other. Though they end exactly the same way, and the trailer does, indeed, completely ruin the movie. I mean... completely. Other than that, it was a pretty intense movie, and I was pretty engrossed by it the entire time. So yeah... fun stuff.

Reviewed by: Nick
3 Comment(s)
Adam said...
I hear that [REC] is 'superior' to Quarantine, but honestly I'm not sure if that means much because I couldn't find anything here to be interested with. For me it was boring and worst of all, not scary in the least.

I won't write a review for this being as you and Shea already have, but I'll quote Jim Lane's review from the Sacramento News and Review, which pretty much sums up how I felt about it...

"The gimmick in Drew Dowdle and director John Erick Dowdle’s script (from the 2007 Spanish film Rec) is that the whole movie is made up of the news crew’s video footage, from early joking through drama to mounting panic and horror. To that brilliantly original premise, add a story that recycles Night of the Living Dead without the character or plot development (sad when you take a back seat to George A. Romero in that), and you have a recipe for a movie that didn’t need to be made and which no one needs to see. The movie never really ends, it just runs out of victims and stops."

It felt to me as if, to make up for how completely predictable, tedious and unscary the movie is, they tried to make it as nauseating and painful as possible, and if that was their intention - then they definitely succeeded.
Shea said...
thats like... your opinion man.
Adam said...
haha, that it is Dude. That it is.