October 16, 2008

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Quarantine (R)
Residents of an apartment building are picked off due to a mysterious ailment in Quarantine, a horror movie with the screaming and the blood and all the usual rigmarole.

Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) is a plucky reporter filming a night-at-the-firehouse feature for some TV news outlet. She and cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) spend for-EV-er making plucky reporter small talk with the firefighters and taking part in “whimsy” like sliding down the poll and flirting. Some time after the continents drift and San Francisco winds up smashed into Los Angeles and new forms of intelligent reptilian life evolve, begin to walk upright and get low-interest loans to buy all the best condos, the firehouse gets a call to check out some kind of disturbance at an apartment building. When firefighter Jake (Jay Hernandez) and his partner (whose name I never bothered learning because he had “victim” stenciled on his forehead) and plucky Angela and Shaky-cam Scott pile into the building, they and some police officers find an old woman, the cause of the disturbance, heavy breathing and foaming at the mouth in her apartment. Before you can say “cannibal zombies,” she bites somebody in the neck and there you go with the bleeding and the screaming and the running and the blurry stuff on tilty camera.

Plus, at the end of the movie, night vision.

There is not a thing here you haven’t seen somewhere else and probably better. It is unfortunate that Hernandez, who briefly set the film world atwitter with his role in Crazy/Beautiful, is fodder for this kind of kill-’em-off-one-by-one suspense-free horror. It’s actually a considerable step down from Hostel, which was gorier but also more interesting. I would like to say that I spent Quarantine considering a better use of Hernandez (I think he needs to find himself a nice TV dramady) but after boring me with its setup, Quarantine lulled me into a stupor. By the end my thoughts were themselves rather zombie-ish — “Me sleepy” and “ugrrrrrh, need water.” Oh, and “movie, bleeeech.” D

Rated R for bloody violent and disturbing content, terror and language. Directed by John Erick Dowdle and written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle (from the movie Rec by Jaume Balaguero, Luis Berdejo and Paco Plaza) Quarantine is an hour and 26 minutes long and distributed in wide release by Sony.