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Quarantine (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]
+ BD Live
Actors: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Columbus Short, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
R     2009     1hr 29min

When a news crew decides to trail a brave fire-fighting team, they never suspect that the first call for help they respond to that night may be their last. Now they're trapped in an apartment complex sealed off by the gove...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Columbus Short, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Creators: John Erick Dowdle, Carlos Fernández, Clint Culpepper, Drew Dowdle, Jaume Balagueró, Luis Berdejo, Paco Plaza
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/17/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Quarantine is a [rec]
Terry Mesnard | Bellevue, NE | 10/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I apologize for the pun above...I couldn't resist, mostly because it's true on both accounts. Firstly, a brief history lesson. Last year, a Spanish film called [rec] came out to much acclaim in Spain. It quickly traveled most of the Western world, building fans and kudos while systematically scaring the wits out of 99% of people who saw it. Since then, it's been out everywehre in the Western world in either theatres or on DVD.

Everywhere except the United States.

Here, we have Hollywood with the mentality of, "why bring over a perfectly terrifying film when we can remake it in our own language." Consequently, we still don't have [rec] here. But we do have Quarantine. Having seen [rec] and hearing that Quarantine was practically a frame-by-frame remake in some ways, I was curious to see how it'd hold up.

Things began well, with a nice set up that involved some good banter back and forth. The trip to the apartment complex and the realization that something horrible is happening works well. Sure, some scenes have been changed for added gore/shock value, but overall it was a good, if needless, remake. Unfortunately, what I like to call the "Marilyn Burns Effect" happens and ruins the last 1/3 of the movie. Horror aficionados will remember Marilyn as the actress in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. While many hold this film in high regards (and rightly so), Marilyn spends the last 10-20 minutes of the movie running, arms flailing and screaming her head off. Today, reviewing that film, it comes across more humorous than scary.

And unfortunately, that's what happens in Quarantine. Towards the end, you just want to reach through the screen and slap the main character. I could go into a deep discussion of female hysteria in film, especially as it relates to needing a man to calm her down (usually with a slap to the face), but I won't. Needless to say, that stereotype continues in this film, complete with an unsuccessful talking down by her male camera person, and it turns into a self-parody.

I usually enjoy Jennifer Carpenter; I liked her in the Exorcism of Emily Rose and the few episodes I've seen of Dexter, but she just ruins any thrills in the last third of Quarantine. This probably won't surprise anyone, but Quarantine felt like a "hipper," "more stylized" version of [rec], minus the themes introduced at the end and without any creativity. Don't get me wrong, Quarantine isn't a horrible film. It does have a couple decent scares. The problem is that whatever it can do, [rec] can do better. The fear in [rec] is palpable simply because it is simplistic in its presentation. It's a much scarier film. [rec] is, in fact, on my short list of films that have scared me. Quarantine just doesn't cut it. My recommendation is let your wallet do the talking and skip Quarantine for the much superior and terrifying [rec]."
Quarantine (2008)
John Allen | Indianapolis, IN USA | 02/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I am a fan of horror movies and I'm always up for a good zombie flick...however, this isn't a zombie flick. Quarantine is much, much more. The premise is something I would never have guessed in a million years! To me it was a refreshing take on the zombie movie genre. I highly recommend this film to horror movie fans everywhere! It's like Cloverfield meets Resident Evil...I give it four out of five stars."
Far better than the previews would lead you to believe.
Graves | Pennsylvania | 06/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Quarantine is a much better movie than its previews would lead you to believe. Previews make it look like people are trapped in an old building with zombies running amok in it. Maybe they came up from the sewers.

In fact it follows a reality TV reporter who is following an LA fire crew on calls. They go to a building when neighbors have reported screams coming from the apartment of an old lady. What follows is the outbreak of a savage, mind destroying disease where tenants and first responders find them sealed in with those already infected, by the CDC.

Like Cloverfield and Blair Witch, the film is shot from the single camera view of the reality reporter's camera man. Unlike those films the camera work is clean and does not distract the viewer. Watch the long shot when a call comes as the camera man has to follow the reporter down a hall, a flight of stairs and into a truck and realize it was all done in one take without cuts. The first 20 minutes of the film are the `reality show' walking around the fire house, talking to members of the fire crew and setting the stage by letting you meet the key players in the film. This is clearly the set up but it doesn't feel stilted. You don't feel like saying `get on with it" because you care about the characters. Carpenter, as the on air talent is likeable and believable, going from bubbly on air talent, to real reporter as things turn serious to scared human as she realizes just how deep in they are. And she takes the viewer with her.

Previews make this look like just another zombie film. There are certainly elements of that in Quarantine but for the genre it is so much better than much of the competition. They even have an explanation, scary in how reasonable it is, for what is happening. Is it "Sound of Music?" of course not. It is a horror film, but one in which the director has taken a lot of care to make the whole thing frighteningly possible.

Truly incompetent filmmaking.
Doktor Saturday | San Francisco | 09/12/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I suspect part of the reason I hate "Quarantine" so much is that I can see how good it could have been. It's a solid, if derivative, idea for a scary movie: A little bit "28 Days Later", a little bit "Blair Witch Project", a little bit "Diary of the Dead". The cast does a fine job. The lead actors in particular (the newswoman and one of the firemen) have moments of genuine excellence as they convey their characters' panic and disorientation. The make-up effects are well done. The sound was good too, subtle creepy ambient noise to get you in the proper mood. No force on earth, however, could rescue the movie from stupid writing, poor directorial choices, impenetrably murky lighting, bewildering editing, and -- did I mention? -- stupid writing. The problems are all behind the camera. There was great potential here for a creepy little film, but the execution was simply inept. I don't think it's much of an exaggeration to say that every decision they made (aside from casting, make-up, and sound) was a misstep.

I love horror films. I am especially fond of zombie movies, and this one fits squarely into that sub-genre even if the "zombies" aren't actually dead. I'm not ordinarily bothered by "shaky-cam", either. So, when I got a chance to see "Quarantine", I jumped at it. What a mistake that turned out to be. I haven't disliked a movie so much in a long time. I was irritated enough to take the time to slam it in this review, which is not something I'd ordinarily do. If I can prevent even one person from wasting precious minutes out of their finite lifetime, then it will have been worth it... almost! I wish that I had turned it off, but I kept hoping for it to take some sort of interesting turn. Honestly, I think my bad-movie-optimism runs so deep that it amounts to a character flaw. I can usually find something to like in even the worst films, but I'd rate "Quarantine" somewhere in the 100 least-enjoyable films that I've ever seen. A truly terrible movie can be great entertainment, but this one isn't.

The characters are cardboard. "Well duh," you may be thinking, "It's a horror movie." Yes, true, and you'd think I'd be used to that by now... but here there's barely even a token attempt to individualize people, including the principal characters. They might have been able to get away with that if this was the kind of film that's all about body count, but that's pure death for a "first-person" movie whose effectiveness relies on the audience identifying closely with the victims! Everyone can be completely described in one word: Newscaster, Cameraman, Fireman, Drunk, Mother, Daughter, Cop, Veterinarian. The movie spends a great deal of time treading water at the beginning, when they ought to have been establishing why the audience should care about someone... anyone... on the screen.

Once things get going, everything is waaaay too dark. Handled correctly, this could make our imaginations run wild. Here, it just made me squint and say "What in the hell am I looking at???" It gets even worse whenever there's an action sequence. The screen melts into motion-blur and visual cacophany. (Stan Brakhage, eat your heart out.) You can tell that they were trying to increase our identification with the characters' sense of disorientation but they use the first-person technique so ham-handedly that it completely backfires. It becomes literally impossible to figure out what is happening on-screen for minutes at a time. I could tolerate that if this was the ending of "2001: A Space Odyssey", but... it's not. Is someone getting killed? Is someone running somewhere for some reason? Is that an asteroid??? Do I even care anymore? Since you can't tell what's happening, it's hard to be engaged at all, much less frightened. I found my attention wandering at those moments when tension was supposed to be at its peak. That's bad moviemaking, plain and simple.

Outside the action sequences, it's not merely boring, it's actively annoying. Instead of learning from their mistakes the characters keep doing the same painfully dumb things over and over. I had to restrain myself from shouting at the screen because their behavior was so absurd. I think this was the thing that bugged me the most, and made it impossible for me to enjoy the film: Everyone in the movie behaves like an absolute idiot. The kind of idiot who puts their hand on a hot stove again and again and again, saying "OW! That hurts!" every time. The kind of idiot who watches an exasperatingly bad film all the way through, when they should have figured out that it wasn't going to get any better after the first half hour. Some examples...

(WARNING: Snarky spoilers follow. Not that anyone could possibly spoil this movie any further, snark snark.)

"Gee, there's a mysterious disease outbreak... lets gather everyone in one place so we can ALL get infected as efficiently as possible!"

"Turn on my flashlight -- or the night-vision on my camera -- when we approach other people? No way! If I did that, we'd be able to tell immediately whether they are infected or not. I don't want to spoil the surprise! I'd much rather take my chances running around in the dark surrounded by maniacs, taking no precautions whatsoever."

"I've got a great idea everybody! Lets NOT restrain the homicidal maniacs after we identify and temporarily subdue them! I'm sure that our stern looks of disapproval will prevent them from eating any more human flesh."

"Hello little zombie girl who just tore her mother to pieces in front of all of us, would you like to hold my hand? Do you want a hug? Don't be scared, I won't hurt you... OW! OW! Why are you biting me??!? This is shocking and unexpected behavior! Why would a frothing diseased homicidal lunatic do such a thing?"

"Uh oh, Bob's turning into a zombie... this glass door will keep him out! Now that we're completely safe behind this impenetrable barrier, I'm going to make myself comfortable and LEAN AGAINST THE GLASS, while he slobbers and foams on the other side. What could go wrong?"

On top of everything else, they ruined their big shock ending by plastering it all over the previews and the box cover, ensuring that there will be NO payoff for sitting through this turd disguised as a film. The only other slightly effective scene in the film occurs when a zombie is beaten to death with the camera while it continues filming, which made me giggle a little bit... though I'm pretty sure that's not the response they were trying to evoke.

I could continue, but... why bother? By now, you know what I think. This movie stinks on ice. If you want a smart, well-made mockumentary horror flick, I recommend "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" instead."