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Quarantine 2 – Review

Quarantine 2 – Review

Aug 26, 2011

reviewed by Danny
directed by John Pogue, 2011
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Quarantine 2 has one of the odder trips to the screen in recent memory and much of that journey turns off hardcore horror fans.  The original Quarantine was a near shot-for-shot remake of the excellent Spanish zombie film REC.  Quarantine shared so much of the original film’s vision and style, and came so closely on the heels of REC, that horror fans were up in arms.  “Why does Hollywood think we are so stupid we can’t appreciate a film with subtitles?”  It didn’t help that there were a number of solid foreign horror films getting the Hollywood makeover about that time.  Quarantine became a lightning rod for the negativity.   Now, Sony Pictures and director John Pogue bring us a sequel, and it isn’t based on the Spanish film REC 2 but is, instead, an original sequel to the US remake.  What a mess.  Expectations for the film dropped even lower when Sony decided to release the film direct-to-video and not even give it a token theatrical run.  I enjoyed the first film, and I thought in some ways it improved on REC, though it wasn’t as good a film overall, and I went into my viewing of Quarantine 2 with as open a mind as possible given the film’s history.  What I discovered was a solid low-budget “zombie” movie with a unique, interesting setting.  It isn’t ground-breaking by any means, but Quarantine 2 is definitely worth the price of a rental.

Quarantine 2’s plot runs in parallel with the events in Quarantine, but that isn’t obvious at the start of the film.  The film opens by introducing us to two flight attendants who are on their way to the airport for a flight.  The two characters are one-hundred percent cliché (one is a bit easy, the other has a father who tried to pressure her into being a pilot), but they are attractive and likeable enough to make for good protagonists (and potential zombie fodder).  Once on the airplane, we are introduced to one cliché character after another: a kid with divorced parents who is flying between them and trying to appear tougher than he is; an elderly woman and her Parkinson’s stricken, wheelchair bound, husband; an aggressive businessman who won’t turn off his cell phone; a portly passenger too fat to fit in the standard seatbelt, another older woman with a cat in her handbag, and a few more not worth mentioning.

The only passenger of any real interest is an elementary school teacher carrying a hamster cage.  Now, anyone who has seen the first film will know that the “hamsters” (and the cats for that matter) are going to be important.  The teacher is quickly revealed to be the male protagonist as the horror elements in the plot are introduced.  Those events are pretty predictable in light of the first film’s plot, but the setting is novel enough to build up tension and suspense.  Hey, it’s a zombie outbreak on a plane.  It would be hard to make that boring.

And Quarantine 2, even after it leaves the nicely claustrophobic plane and moves into an abandoned airline terminal (which is still novel but really could just be any nearly-empty warehouse),  isn’t boring.  There is a good deal of suspense, a little mystery, and a healthy amount of gruesome deaths.  Anyone who is not totally turned off by the film’s ancestry* should find it to be an enjoyable horror film.

* Speaking of the animosity out there in the horror community, I find it interesting that this film has an 83% positive rating from critics on Rottentomatoes.com but only a 4.5/10 average from the users at IMDB.  Considering that it is pretty rare for a low-budget horror film to have a positive critical response, I have to think the regular viewers responses are a little skewed because of the whole REC/Quarantine controversy.

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