Tuesday, July 5, 2011
"What's going on?" "I dunno. Some apartment building in LA. Good thing we're flying away."
Two months after I started this site I reviewed a movie I knew hardly anything about called Quarantine. I knew it was a remake of the Spanish film REC, it starred Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter, and used the first person camera technique that has become oh so popular in today's culture. Other than that I knew nothing. So going in with an open mind I sat down and watched it and I actually really enjoyed it. It wasn't perfect and the original was much better but it still had enough going for it that I recommended people saw it.
It wasn't before too long I heard a sequel was coming somewhere down the road and, like most of the scares in the original, it popped up on my On Demand out of nowhere and was at a bargain price. I had no idea who was in it, what the plot was besides it being at an airport, or even if it was shot in first person or not. But that didn't matter because like the original I went in with an open mind and boy was I surprised at what I saw. Not only was it shot in third person, but it was better acted, better paced and better done then the original in almost every way. I'd even go so far to say it was better than REC 2 in terms of sequels. And the most surprising thing of all? It was done by the guy who did Ghost Ship. And regular readers know my opinion of Ghost Ship.
The story actually works quite well for the most part. It's riddled with cliches' and stereotypes that we've come to expect from horror movies but it's written in a way that it's never overly predictable and the dialogue steers clear of the cheesy one liners for the most part. Like its predecessor it's also quite atmospheric. We don't get into the action until about 15 or so minutes into the movie and before that we are actually left guessing who could be the carrier, something that actually had me squirming with anticipation. And once off the plane, the film is paced well enough that for every time the action gets intense, there is enough down time for the viewer to catch their breath. My only complaint with the writing is one scene very late in the film that seems to go on forever. It's not so much the length of the scene but one very disgusting action done in scene at close range. What makes it worse is that the action has little to do with the plot so it's a bit jarring.
The praise for the acting, however, stops here. Luckily the three people I mentioned take up a majority of the screen time but it becomes incredibly obvious as the film goes on that everyone else is either phoning it in or just really isn't that good of an actor. Some take their stereotype to comically bad levels, some sound monotone and lifeless, and one character, the kid I mentioned in the plot outline, is so annoying that I wanted to reach in the TV and punch him out. And he's in a majority of the film! Luckily Mercedes, Ignacio and Josh do their best to get the most out of the other actors so there are occasional bright spots with the others but it's easy to see the difference in effort between the actors.
Quarantine 2 certainly won't win any awards and there are a few major flaws here and there but overall this is a surprisingly good sequel and horror film in general. It's a shame this is basically a Direct to DVD movie so you probably won't catch it at your local theater but if you see it on the shelves at your local video store or are in need of a good horror movie to watch on Netflix or Redbox, I suggest getting Quarantine 2.
MY VERDICT: SEE IT