Thursday, October 23, 2014

Horrorpalooza 2014: Anthony T's #TBT: "Quarantine"

Welcome to the latest edition of Anthony T's #TBT. This week, I was revisit my review of "Quarantine", which is a remake of the Spanish horror film "[REC]". Sadly, I was wrong when I predicted that "Quarantine" would outgross "Saw V" at the box office but I still stand by my stance that “One Missed Call” is "One and a Half Missed Hours of my Life" after all these years.

Repost from 10/11/08 with minor changes from original review.

"Quarantine" reminds of a film that I saw in theaters back in 1999 called “The Blair Witch Project” where it was also went the found-footage route. Today, there seems to be a lot of found footage films like the original “[REC]”, the often delayed “The Poughkeepsie Tapes” and “Cloverfield” This leads me to the latest found footage film "Quarantine."

It's remake of the 2007-acclaimed Spanish horror film, “[REC]”, which I’ve been looking forward to seeing but never had that chance, since it’s never been released on DVD in the States and never played in a theater near me.

The film is about a news reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) who shadow a group of Los Angeles firefighters for a late night TV show. The group responds to 911 call to an apartment building where it seems like a routine call. But this wasn’t any routine call, as they find a person that’s infected with something unknown. Soon they find themselves with no power, no Internet access, and no way to contact the outside world. They later discover that the CDC is quarantining them for reasons unknown. Soon the residents begin to become infected with something that makes them turn violent, as the people trapped have no way out of the building. This is what was documented during that ordeal. The film also co-stars Jay Hernandez ("Hostel", "World Trade Center"), Dania Ramirez ("Heroes"), and Rade Sherbedgia ("The Eye", "24").

"Quarantine" truly lived up my expectations that I had set with the film, mostly because I have been looking forward to seeing it’s original “[REC]”. That’s why my expectations were so high for this film. Director John Erick Dowdel (director of the still yet to be released “The Poughkeepsie Tapes”) does a great job keeping the action intense. He achieves this by using a shaky cam method that has made films like “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield” become so intense. Also, this whole found footage film sub-horror genre works very well, because it brings a sense of realism that many horror films don’t have. This method also helps make the scares feel frightening. Speaking of the scares, Dowdel does a great job with them. They come out of nowhere, which helps this film work in a big way. It made them frightening since you know what’s going to happen. Also, Dowdel did a great job having the last fifteen minutes of the film shot in night vision. It makes the ending very creepy and terrifying.

Another thing that makes this film very effective was the acting. Dowdel gets very good performances from actress Jennifer Carpenter (who’s performance is also one of the film’s highlights, as she comes off as innocent and terrified) and actors Steve Harris (TV’s "The Practice") and Jay Hernandez. The chemistry between them and all the other actors were very good. I liked how they made their character seem real, as they make them seem like normal people. It made me interested in the characters.

The screenplay written by Dowdel and his brother Drew Dowdel was very frightening and intense. One of the reasons that this was enjoyable was that the characters were more realistic in the way that you won’t see in many horror films. I liked how the writers spend the first fifteen minutes or so to get to know the main characters, as they come off as realistic. The characters come off that way because they feel like the type that you would see every day on the street. Another thing that I liked about the screenplay was the fact that the Dowdel brothers don’t bother using an opening title sequence with the beginning of the film. In a way that helped establish the fact the film started at the beginning of the supposed found tape. This helps establish the film’s realistic tone that it’s trying to go for. The scares were very effective because the brothers time them very well, especially when some of them come out of nowhere which I won’t give away, since I really want you to see this film.

After enduring three totally horrible remakes this year, like “Funny Games”, The Eye”, and “One Missed Call”, (aka "One and a Half Missed Hours of my Life", and no, I am still going to call that movie that because it’s true) "Quarantine" is truly a terrorizing remake that makes me now very curious about seeing the original, "[REC]". Hopefully this will get a US DVD release, if "Quarantine" makes money. Please, this is truly a remake that deserves to do well at the box office, so all you horror fans, please go out and support this film, as this truly is one of the year’s best horror films.

Personal Note: I’ll go on the record and say when it’s all said and done that this film will make more money than Saw V.

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