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Quarantine
DVD disk
Mar 11, 2009 By: Aaron the H
Quarantine order
Director:
John Erick Dowdle

Actors:
Jennifer Carpenter
Jay Hernandez
Greg Germann

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A news crew gets more than they bargained for when they follow a group of firemen into an LA apartment building on a routine house call. When someone inside starts showing Rabies-like symptoms, things (and people) start gettin' ugly.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Whether you ultimately end up digging this movie or not (I did), theres one thing you have to respect; this is one celluloid package that was handled with care. Allow me to explain

The premise is simple enough: Youve got a news crew, some cops, a couple firemen and a bunch of tenants in an old dingy apartment building. Some kind of outbreak is turning them, one by one, into bloodthirsty maniacs. To make things worse, the CDC has just locked down the building, so aint nooobody gettin out. This could have ended up as your standard by-the-numbers horror flick. But thankfully, these filmmakers stayed [mostly] true to the original films roots, and set forth the lofty goal of shooting this puppy ENTIRELY from the P.O.V. of a single news camera. Despite how preposterous the reality of that may sound (why would someone keep filming when theyre running for their lives?) the thing actually works! At first, as I met our colorful cast and the camera just meandered aimlessly up and down hallways, I found myself thinking Wow, this film shoot must have been a breeze. But by the end, when the shit hit the fan and dozens of uber-creepy, flesh-hungry, primal-screaming undead started coming at us from every dark corner imaginable, I was yelling Holy ghost! How are they doing this?!. This single-camera long-take setup made for a much more terrifying and engrossing scenario, and really upped the thrill factor. The constant wailing of sirens and helicopters blazing on the streets outside frustrated me at first (I wanted creepy silence) but I think that was the point. If we were in that building, the sounds of the street and hence, the sounds of our salvation just outside those windows would torture us too. Big time.

I didnt really buy our leading lady Angela (Jennifer Carpenter) as a credible street reporter; she was a bit too young, cute and ditzy. But man, when push came to shove and things got nasty, she was astounding and heartbreaking to watch. Ive rarely seen a woman so convincingly and realistically play terrified, and it made for an unforgettable final. Corbin Smith was effective and believable as the cop in control of the situation, and Jay Hernandez did a fine job as a heroic firefighter. But that right there was, for me, a huge problem; it was Jay Hernandez. I recognize this dude, and instantly when I see him, much of the trick of making us think this is real is completely ruined. To take me even further out of the game, the cast also included Boris the Blade from Snatch and the head lawyer guy from Ally McBeal (dont ask me how I know that). Theres really no reason they couldnt have found unknown actors to up the realism factor and provide us TOTAL immersion.

But hey, nobodys perfect, especially in Hollywood, and other than that little snafu and a few other minor hitches (news cameras dont have night vision!), I had a damn good time with Quarantine. Oh and for all you die-hard horror fans curious about the blood and gore ratio, let me just tell you this...somebody gets beaten to death with the friggin' camera. Yeah, they definitely held nothing back here...
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with writer/director John Erick Dowdle and writer/producer Drew Dowdle: These two brothers come off very likable and refreshingly unpretentious, and share plenty of stories and anecodtes from the set. Rarely a quiet moment, it's a pretty good track overall.

"Locked In": The Making of Quarantine (10:06): I was actually looking forward to this one, as I couldnt wait to see how they pulled this all off, and it didnt disappoint. Lots and lots of rehearsing for long takes and some clever camera cheats. Not extremely in-depth, but to-the-point and more interesting than your average making-of.

"Dressing the Infected": Robert Halls Makeup Design (7:30): Because of the camerawork in this film, you never REALLY get a good long look at the zombies. This featurette gives you that. It also talks about the difficulties they faced in keeping things practical and shooting with one camera. Job well done guys.

Anatomy of a Stunt (3:23): A brief but ultra-cool featurette of how they pulled off one of the most badass shots in the film. Definitely give this a go.

You also get about fifteen previews for a whole bunch of movies, TV shows, the works. Check it out, if, um, you really like previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Intense, bloody, and very atmospheric, Quarantine is an admirable genre film that will leave you foaming at the mouth. Ive heard the original Spanish film [Rec] is a little better, but you cant ask for much more than this from a Hollywood remake.
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