Hollywood has remade the Spanish flick [Rec] faster than I could get a chance to see it, but by most reports this version is very faithful to the original.
As the latest entry into the handheld ‘lost footage’ horror sub genre, this will appeal to those who didn’t feel seasick throughout Cloverfield. I made sure I sat near the back for Quarantine, though by the end I was still feeling a little queasy. It’s a pity – I’d probably be better off watching these films on DVD so that the smaller picture would be less likely to bother me. (The same goes for Kenny and United 93). Most point towards The Blair Witch Project, but I suppose the blame really lies with 1982’s Cannibal Holocaust. That (mostly banned) flick is the earliest I can think of to make use of such a gimmick, and the technique hasn’t really changed since then.
Quarantine follows a young TV presenter and her cameraman as they spend a night with a bunch of fire fighters in Los Angeles. The fireys are called out to a disturbance in an apartment block, and as soon as they get there it’s apparent that there’s something very wrong going on here. Something involving death and lots of blood. From this moment the film never lets up, and could never be criticised for being sluggish.
The cinematography is actually very well done. Yes, the camera never stops moving, but it always captures the right object and/or movement; no mean feat considering the speed with which they’re swinging the thing around. One particular moment makes good use of the gimmick in a way I’ve never seen before.
The plot is better than average. The main problem is an oldie but a goodie – no one in a zombie movie has ever seen a zombie movie, which means we have to wait for everyone to figure out what the audience has taken for granted. (Huh? They’re deadly and keep coming back for more? Say what? Humans can be turned into zombies through infection? No way!) That the action is confined to one apartment block is fantastic, and we’re fed clues as to the geography of the place bit by bit, which is useful considering how disorienting the camerawork can be.
The film’s pretty gory, but nothing that zombie movie fans couldn’t deal with. One of the better horror films to come out this year, Quarantine is a fun flick. The consensus seems to be that the original is much better, however, so I’ll have to check it out.Rating: