Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Quarantine

Quarantine
Starring:
Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez and Columbus Short


Rated: R bloody violence and disturbing content, terror and language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 10, 2008 Released by: Screen Gems

The 'Blair Witch Cloverfield Project' is how many may be describing Quarantine, a horror-torture schlock-fest.

John Erick Dowdle's film is lifted from the Spanish Rec, so those who've seen that may not be experiencing the same heebie-jeebies.

Starring Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, and Columbus Short, there's a raw spontaneity to the impending panic set on March 11 of this year.

In the screenplay by Dowdle and brother Drew, Carpenter's television reporter is doing a human interest story on Los Angeles firemen. It's not that exciting as she cozies up to ones like Hernandez and Johnathon Schaech (Prom Night).

Soon, a distress call from an apartment building puts the rescue team and news crew in the midst of a crisis after residents have been attacked by an old woman whose strange behavior is a result of an unknown infection. With all assembled in the lobby, they come to learn that they aren't going anywhere, courtesy of the CDC, fearful of a deadly virus on the loose.

As violence rears its ugly head, a taut luridness prevails with the perspective from Angela's dogged cameraman (Steve Harris). That includes an overwhelming claustrophobic feeling as all sorts of heinous, strange moments are captured as Angela is rather fervently dedicated to her profession. Dowdle goes for a harrowing visual obfuscation once the action intensifies.

With a professional cameraman helping to guide the way through the bedlam, there's less of the queasiness for the viewer. Hernandez and, especially, Short as a cop with a temper, are better than expected as the situation exponentially becomes frayed. Carpenter (known for her recent work on Cable's "Dexter"), however, does her damned to be more laid back than Angela has any right to be. Not that one is expecting more percolating in a convincing manner from the lead character.

Ultimately, for some, Quarantine is an eye-opener as an abyss of terror has the effect of a vacuum cleaner. The carnage and mayhem is familiar and unrelenting. If the filmmakers think they have something up their sleeves, they're infected with too much hysteria to rattle the genre with something as telling and jittery as this is.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Quarantine        C-      B   F         C- 

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