Monday, May 18, 2009

Old Yeller Ain't What It Used To Be

Quarantine 2008
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Writers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle
Starring Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez and Jonathon Schaech

Infection and virus films seems to be all the rage now with many a modern horror film taking on this subject. And with the ongoing threat looming over our heads of biological attacks, this threat seems all too real, so it makes for an excellent subject for a horror film. Quarantine is a film that definitely falls into this category and I think was pulled off ably well. I have yet to see (Rec) the Spanish film on which it is based on, but if it's half as entraining as Quarantine, I am sure its a great movie. This was a creepy and scary little film and finally a film that uses shakie cam to it's best advantage.
The plot basics are this, Angela (Carpenter) and Scott (Harris) are a reporter and cameraman for a local news station and they are doing a segment on spending the evening with a fire station. Everything starts off pretty mundane and safe, until they get a call to help an elderly woman who has befallen something in her apartment building. Angela and Scott go with the Firemen and it soon becomes clear that this is no normal emergency, as the elderly woman goes crazy and attacks a policeman by feasting on his neck and another cop has to put her down. They all go downstairs to get him help, but soon find themselves barricaded in the apartment building by the Police and CDC. As the night progresses it appears there is some biological variance of Rabies infecting the building and the government is just going to let it run its course in the building and then clean it up.
I really enjoyed this film quite a bit. I thought the direction was tight and the writing was deftly handled as well. There was enough time set aside to get to know the leads before they are thrust into the hellish evening they are about to endure. The cast was great, especially Carpenter and Hernandez. It was great seeing Carpenter being totally together and then toward the end just going completely insane, due to what she has experienced. There is some great gore scenes in the film too, with quite a few times where I went, WTF. A word about the camera work, I usually do not like the shakey cam style, but it was used really effectively for this film and didn't bother me in the slightest. This was a film that really surprised me.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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