Sunday, March 1, 2009


Quarantine (2008)

Warning: SPOILERS in this review

This is a remake of a 2007 low-budget Spanish film called REC. The plot is simple: a news reporter and her cameraman shadow some Los Angeles firemen for the night, riding along as they answer a call for paramedic assistance at an apartment complex. The whole movie is presented from the point of view of the news cameraman. (So, yes, there is a bit of The Blair Witch Project shaky cam here.)

This is one dumb ass movie. And I mean DUMB ASS. I know a certain amount of leeway needs to be given to horror movies, but this one used my entire year’s supply. I’m now all out of leeway. Due to the nature of the film, the characters are more like sketches than fully drawn out people, which is fine. Angela the reporter has the most screen time and personality and is shown interviewing the firemen and touring the firehouse before they get the call and all ride out. It’s what they do in the thick of things that makes them all morons.

Firstly the fireman Jake (Jay Hernandez of Hostel fame) and the policeman (Columbus Short) have NO IDEA how firemen and policemen act in tense situations. They were laughably bad. Short plays the worst cop I have ever seen (was this his first day - the actor and the character?). He apparently has no police training whatsoever. At one point, they leave one fireman to watch old, foaming-at-the-mouth-with-blood-all-over-her Mrs. Espinoza, who just bit a cop on the neck. They’re in the lobby for a skant few minutes when that fireman is thrown over the second floor railing, slamming into the floor. Jake and the cop rush over and look at the man as if he wasn’t just thrown over the railing by a rabid old lady. I can see Jake focusing on tending to his buddy, but the cop just sits there with a stupid look on his face. He’s quick to draw his weapon on the apartment residents when they are peppering him with questions, but when a fireman is thrown down a few floors it just doesn’t get his attention that they are in a dangerous situation.

This movie goes out of its way to do the dumb or stupid thing, because its writers and director are idiots. The authorities seal off the building and take their sweet damn time in informing the cops and firemen they know are in the building of the situation. Why would they keep them in the dark? EVERYTHING the authorities do makes matters worse for the people trapped in the apartment. They jam the cell phones (why?) and, get this, they even turn off the power to the whole building. What possible reason would there be for the Centers For Disease Control and the cops to do that? THERE IS NONE! They very simply could have established that it was an old building experiencing electrical problems, or perhaps L.A. was having one of its famous rolling blackouts. Just a little thought on the filmmakers part would have gone a long way in this piece of shit.

This is the type of movie where the filmmakers do things because they think it will be cool, even if it makes not a lick of sense. Mrs. Espinoza is shot three times in the chest by the cop. She is DEAD. So of course when other people start getting the super-rabies, they're running around and end up back in her apartment, and her body is gone. Oh, she’s still alive. Creepy, right? No, not creepy. Stupid. When the power is shut off, no one attempts to get flashlights or candles (they’re apparently happy with the cameraman’s camera light and the cop’s one flashlight), they just sit around bitching. When they see the results of the super-rabies on several people - the viciousness and murderous ferocity - they make NO attempt to arm themselves with knives, bats, something, anything to use as a weapon. This movie is chock full of “Why are they doing THAT?” moments. Overflowing in fact. They didn’t have to spend any more money or time to correct these glaring inaccuracies, just some common sense, which seems to be the first thing eradicated by the super-rabies virus.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to order some more leeway.

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