Here, for once, is a film that truly captures the essence of its cultural surroundings.
Here, for once, is a film that truly captures the essence of its cultural surroundings. If you'll forgive the wanky assertion, you could almost say that Quarantine is a distillation of the zeitgeist. Not, as some might argue, because it's a first-person horror flick with socio-political undertones.
But rather, because it's an identikit remake of a movie that was only released last year. Sony have even seen fit to include the last shot of the film in their own trailer; now all they need to do is to somehow turn it into an iPhone application and we'll have 2008 in a nutshell.
Bitter sentiment aside, Quarantine is a fairly unnerving thrill ride. A complete reconstruction it may be, but at least director John Erick Dowdle and his team are plundering from decent source material. Apart from an extended opening sequence, this is essentially a full-scale recreation of the shaky-cam Spanish shocker [REC] in which we follow a young TV presenter (Jennifer Carpenter) as she sets about shadowing a team of fire fighters, experiencing the action through the eyes – or rather the viewfinder – of her attendant cameraman (Steve Harris).
An emergency callout brings the group to an apartment block downtown, where events take a Night of the Living Dead-style turn for the worse. Somewhat bizarrely, this situation seems even less credible than the giant monster scenario of Cloverfield, but at least the perspective is handled with a reduced degree of nausea-inducing Shake-o-Vision.
The building’s zombie-like denizens are laudably gruesome, while the grim atmosphere is helped significantly by the tight arrangement of some tense set-pieces – particularly the dread-inducing arrival of some sinister figures in hazmat suits.
At just under 90 minutes, Quarantine is a slim line horror that packs plenty of enjoyable moments into its relatively brief runtime. There are several good ideas on display here, yet it's hard to forget that most of them were originally someone else's. Despite its technical proficiency, the film is highly symptomatic of a wider problem: a lack of creativity that's becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
Another remake, but at least the original turned heads.
Grisly, engrossing and concise.
A well-made genre flick, but a rehash nonetheless.