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Quarantine (2008)


(R) 90 mins

Plot Summary: A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.

Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Columbus Short, Greg Germann, Steve Harris, Dania Ramirez, Rade SerbedzijaJohnathon Schaech

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Writers: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle

Producers: Glenn S. Gainor (executive producer), Drew Dowdle (executive producer), Julio Fernández (executive producer), Carlos Fernández (executive producer), Doug Davison (producer), Roy Lee (producer), Sergio Aguero (producer)

Distributed By: Screen Gems

Serious Jest:  (Must See)  I watched this movie knowing very little about it, which definitely added to its suspense. Right away, I was drawn in by great, natural acting and character development. Carpenter was funny, cute, and charming while interviewing the firefighters, and the whole beginning could have passed as a legitimate and interesting firehouse documentary. The film really did firefighters solid, giving the viewer a glimpse into life at the firehouse (48-hour days, sleeping quarters, the importance of tradition at the firehouse, the history of dalmatians,  the fire pole, and firefighters’ pride in their cooking)–I almost forgot I was watching a thriller, in a good way. Hernandez and Schaech also did a great job of getting you to care about them, displaying their funny, rough-housing, and very human sides, rather than just playing “Tough Firefighters #1 and #2.” Even Harris manages to display personality and make his character real from behind the camera. Later on, all of these characters develop, with some of them showing drastically different sides of their personalities (as real people do in stressful situations), and the actors rise to the challenge.

I love zombie movies…check. This is a close quarters zombie movie…check plus. There is a mystery as to what is causing humans to turn into zombies…loving it.  Add the puzzle of trying to escape the quarantined building, giving this film a prison break aspect…on the edge of my seat. There are some very brutal scenes, but appropriately done, just to let the viewers know that this is serious…hooked. And there is an interesting payoff in the explanation for the zombie problem…I’m sold. I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a thriller, especially if you’re into zombies and prison break movies.

Some viewers are not fans of the handheld camera and documentary-style footage (also used in films such as The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield), but using that style allowed this film to do many things well, such as make the characters endearing (discussed above, but also worth noting that later on in the film, many characters are quickly humanized through interviews), or even employment of the camera as a multi-purpose survival tool. Some viewers might also be annoyed by some of the characters’ reactions…but as in real-life calamities, fight-or-flight kicks in, and some people are forged into steel by the fire, while others freeze up and do stupid things–again, I was very impressed by the actors’ ability to switch that gear in their characters. Also, everyone did a great job of looking terrified. That being said, there were times when I was almost yelling at my screen while someone did something incredibly dumb. If I had gone to see this film in the theaters, I would have felt that it was worth the trip; however, I decided to limit my rating to 4 mugs primarily because I thought that the ending took a bit of an easy way out (although it was still appropriate, and there was definitely an alternate payoff in terms of the explanation for the problem).  Based on my enjoyment of this movie, I plan to see Quarantine 2: Terminal.

About Serious Jest

Film & TV Reviewer by Choice, Attorney at Law, Marine to the Corps (excuse the pun), Nupe Under Pressure, and MC by Nature

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