Friday, November 7, 2008

Don’t Isolate Yourself from Quarantine

If you want a decent horror movie to watch, I have one for you. Quarantine is a movie that crosses two genres, the zombie movie and the real footage “POV” approach seen in movies like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. Both genres are borderline stale, and are begging for a breath of fresh air. I’m happy to report that Quarantine is a cool, refreshing breeze of contaminated air.

Quarantine is not the first movie to combine zombies and POV. George Romero, the father of the zombie genre, tried it with Diary of the Dead and Quarantine itself is a remake of a Spanish horror movie called (Rec).

I went into Quarantine with low expectations… really low. In the POV genre it is often hard to sustain believability for an entire movie, so right there it had one strike against it. Then add the fact that Diary of the Dead was terrible and was the final nail in the coffin of the once great Romero. That’s another strike and a half against this movie. But, I love zombies and I can often find enjoyment from even the cheesiest of movies, so it was worth a shot.

I'll tell you what, I was pleasantly surprised. Quarantine pulled it off, both with the POV and the zombies. The premise is that a news crew is following a team from the fire department around for 24 hours for a special interest piece. After we meet the characters, we follow them on a late night call to an apartment building where an old woman is acting strange.

Once the woman attacks them, all hell breaks loose in the building. Before anyone can escape, the authorities have sealed off the premises and threaten to shoot anyone who tries to escape. There is some kind of infection and they don’t want it getting out. The infection does however get around, and one by one, tenants, cops and firemen are being bitten and tearing each other apart.

Because the point of view is that of a news crew, it helps explain why someone might keep filming once it all hits the fan, and later on, the camera serves as the only source of light in the building. The POV gimmick is also effective because it helps put us in the shoes of the people in the movie. We only see what the camera sees, so we’ll catch a glimpse here and there, making the suspense and shocking moments pretty effective.

It’s also a pretty good addition to the zombie genre. I’d say it owes more to 28 Days Later than Night of the Living Dead. It’s not the best of the bunch, but it’s a satisfying movie that warrants a place on the good list of zombie movies, and horror movies in general. They manage to come up with a pretty good premise and execute it well. It's a fun little horror movie, which is more than I had hoped for and just what I was looking for.

Now I really want to see the original version of this movie and see how similar or different the two are.

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