By Adam Frazier
The premise behind John Erick Dowdleâ€™s film, â€œQuarantine,â€ is fairly simple. A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside an apartment building quarantined by the Center for Disease Control after the outbreak of a mysterious virus, which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.
â€œQuarantineâ€ is an American remake of the 2007 Spanish film â€œ[Rec],â€ and like movies such as â€œThe Blair Witch Projectâ€ and â€œCloverfield,â€ it utilizes a first person, movie-within-a-movie style to give immediacy and uncertainty to the events unfolding on screen. This documentary style works against â€œQuarantine,â€ however, as any pacing or building of tension is neglected for the gimmick of a handheld camera which seizures back-and-forth during every sequence of possible suspense.
Jennifer Carpenter (â€œThe Exorcism of Emily Roseâ€ and â€œDexterâ€) plays Angela Vidal, the television reporter cum scream queen that we are forced to put up with through the filmâ€™s 89-minute running time. Sheâ€™s likeable enough at first, but soon you realize her television reporter character has about as much depth as April Oâ€™Neil from â€œTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.â€
When the infected apartment dwellers, or fast-moving zombies if you prefer, begin to feast upon the flesh of the remaining humans, Carpenterâ€™s character spends most of her time on screen running around in the dark, screaming hysterically. Meanwhile, your stereotypical tough guy fireman (Jay Hernandez) fulfills his paper-thin role as the guy with the blunt object who fights off zombie dogs and ravenous old ladies.
Whatâ€™s most unfortunate about â€œQuarantineâ€ is the fact that it fails to live up to the promise of the horror genre, as it seems incapable of truly scaring the viewer outside of a couple of cheap thrills you see coming from a mile away. The film is nauseating, in more ways than one. Not only does the camera bounce around more than sugar-filled kiddies in a ball pit, but the lack of character and plot development is just as vomit-inducing.
Nowadays, it seems the purpose of contemporary horror films is to inflict the greatest possible suffering upon their audience. Whatâ€™s the point in wasting time on a compelling story with characters you care about, right? Lets just throw in as much mindless shaky-cam scenes of people getting dragged off into the darkness as possible.
â€œQuarantineâ€ is a tedious, predictable, sad excuse for a horror film made for the Hot Topic generation. Itâ€™s a shame that hollow, empty remakes like this, based solely on gimmick over story, flourish in todayâ€™s horror market while films like Mike Doughertyâ€™s â€œTrick â€˜r Treatâ€ struggle to find distribution from big studios who would rather push 34 â€œSawâ€ sequels down our throats.
At least â€œQuarantineâ€ has a title that provokes the very warning moviegoers should heed at their local cinema: DANGER. KEEP OUT.