MOVIE: Quarantine (2008)

Wow, this is a first.  Mark this date, people!  We finally have an American remake of a foreign horror movie that DOES NOT SUCK!

In fact, in many ways, I would argue that Quarantine is actually BETTER than the original Spanish version of the same story, [REC][REC] does a few things better than its successor (I liked its ending better, personally — it was scarier, for one thing, and had more of a focus on the documents, photos, and clippings on the wall in the attic, which are pretty important).  But for the most part, I found the bulk of Quarantine to be just as scary, if not scarier, than [REC] (oh man, the sound of that body hitting the floor early on —  I even knew that was coming and it still made me jump out of my seat!) and it also made a noble attempt at trying to make the overall story a bit more understandable, which I appreciated as well.

Of course, it’s AMERICAN, which also means it over-explicates things, assuming the audience will consist primarily of a bunch of morons.  (Though who can blame them, really, considering the fact Pulp Fiction lost out to Forrest Freakin’ Gump in the 1994 Academy Awards?)  (Yes, I’m still mad — shut up.)   But it managed to avoid the number one sin of American horror movies, which is to swap out the truly scary stuff and replace it with extra gore and a preponderance of lame “Boo!” moments that make you jump out of your seat only because the musical punctuation was so jolting and not because they were actually at all scary.  Man, I hate that crap.

(By the way, I’m not going to bother describing the plot of Quarantine here, as it’s virtually identical to the plot of [REC] and you can read all about it in my review of that movie instead.)

Additionally, Quarantine fixes the big glaring error in [REC] that involved the reporter and her cameraman rewinding a bit of their film and watching it again, while we WATCHED them watch it again — nice trick since the only reason we can see them in the first place is because that same  tape  they just rewound is still somehow rolling, right?  Um, continuity girl?  No soup for you, one year!   That annoyed me in the original, but they worked around it in the remake fairly legitimately.

And Jennifer Carpenter — ho-ly HELL, my people.  She kicks ass in this.  I’m in LOVE with her now, no kidding.  When she does “absolutely hysterical with terror,” I BELIEVE it.  Quite frankly, she was making ME absolutely hysterical with terror and I was watching this from the safety of my seat on the train from Washington to Oregon last week.  No rabies-infected, neck-chomping old ladies to be seen!  But I’ll tell you this much:  had one suddenly burst through the door into my rail car, I’m not sure I would’ve been that surprised.  That’s how completely sucked into this film I got.

Of course, this  was only my first viewing of Quarantine, and I have no idea if I will love it this much when I watch it a second time (which I will likely do next week, by the way — I’ll report back).  Sometimes I’m blown away the first time around, and the second time through, all I see are flaws.  Additionally, I’m coming at this from a much different perspective than the majority of viewers, in that I’ve actually seen the original (which has still not been released in the U.S.).  Nevertheless, last week on that train, this movie scared the beheysoos outta me.  And that, my friends, is VERY hard to do.  Even if it sucks the second time around (doubtful, but not unheard of), I’ll still vividly remember my first experience with this film for a long time to come, and that’s not worth nuthin’, if you ask me.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Horror
Cast:  Jennifer Carpenter, Johnathon Schaeck, Jay Hernandez, Steve Harris

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3 Responses to “MOVIE: Quarantine (2008)”

  1. Lizzie Says:

    I’m very sad to have seen this, and to have not been scared at all. Meg is being very generous and gracious in explaining where she was “coming from,” and why she liked it. But I STILL suspect I was missing out. That sneaking suspicion has dogged me all my life, and I think my difficulty is part visual, and part attention/focus. I used to think it was being “rather thick,” but I don’t think that’s it.

    I’m going to rent the movie again because I’ve found that when I watched certain movies over again, I got a lot more out of them – for example, “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang,” “Real Genius,” and even “Diary of the Dead.” So, here’s some advice from silly me: if you watch a movie, and don’t get what’s so great about it, watch it again, if you have time. You might be like me, and get more out of it.

  2. Carlston Says:

    It wasn’t to bad for the lame blair witch I’m so scared camera shaking POV.

    But what was it? A Disease movie or a zombie movie? Pick one and stick to it. The idea of a human, wepaonized rabbies virus was a good one BUT.

    If that’s the case why didn’t the rabbies infected attack each other and hunt the “living” like zombies. Like the ghoul thing at the end, the 1st people infected…well zombie or disease. For a disease movie ok, but rabbies doesn’t turn people in to pack minded animals eatting flesh….just rabbid …eh read up on it yourself. So the lame bs ending kinda throws the entire movie into a loop. That and why the normal people didn’t hold up in a apartment and wait the critters out since they were “alive” and not zombies, zombies don’t open cans of food.

  3. megwood Says:

    I agree in large part with you, Carlston. I thought the “rabies” thing was really dumb, in part because we already know rabies doesn’t make you into a zombie! It makes you dead, not UNdead.

    But the disease/zombie combination can work pretty well if it’s done right (and, for the record, I still loved Quarantine despite the rabies thing!). I’m thinking about 28 Days Later now — have you seen that one? The “rage virus” is the disease at play in that one, and it did a great job of combining the two genres for me. Kind of focused on the disease elements first and then the battling-zombies elements second. And then the battling-jerky-humans third! If you haven’t caught that one yet, give it a try and let me know what you think!

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