Review #702 of 365
Movie Review of Quarantine (2008) [R] 89 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $5.00
Where Viewed: Kerasotes Olde Town 14, Arvada, CO
When Seen: 9 October 2008 @ 7:00 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits:
Soundtrack: order the CD below
Directed by: John Erick Dowdle (The Dry Spell)
Written by: John Erick Dowdle (The Dry Spell) • Drew Dowdle (debut) • (0) based on the motion picture Rec by Jaume Balagueró, Luis Berdejo, and Paco Plaza
Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Jennifer Carpenter (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) • Steve Harris ("The Practice") • Jay Hernandez (Lakeview Terrace) • Johnathon Schaech (Prom Night) • Columbus Short (This Christmas) • Andrew Fiscella (Prom Night) • Rade Serbedzija (The Eye) • Greg Germann (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) • Bernard White (American Dreamz) • Dania Ramirez (Illegal Tender) • Elaine Kagan ("House, M.D.") • Marin Hinkle ("Two and a Half Men" ) • Joey King (Horton Hears a Who! ) • Jermaine Jackson (Lucky)
Quarantine starts out with the proof of the necessity of the hand-held cinematography—always a curious justification in and of itself. News reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) is on assignment at the local fire station with her camera operator Scott Percival (Steve Harris). She asks him to film everything. Yeah, everything. And if there's ever been a less steady professional camera operator on earth, it's hard to imagine—even built-in circuitry employed by most cameras today, you'd think would compensate for some of his jiggles. Anyway, they interview the fire fighters and get an inside take on their lives in a drawn out segment that bore, unfortunately, very little ultimate relevance to the film except to introduce us to two fire fighters including Jake (Jay Hernandez) who end up being important later. All of the sudden, the fire alarms go off and the company is called to action. They for some reason have agreed to allow the news crew to shadow their every movement for the rest of the shift despite the obvious dangers involved. In this case, they are called to an apartment house. The building manager Yuri Ivanov (Rade Serbedzija) has called 911 when the screaming of a resident was too much for the others to bear. The police are already on the scene, so one of the officers and a few fire fighters and the news crew enter the building. They go to the women's apartment and quickly find themselves in trouble with a blood-thirsty woman who will stop at nothing to bite them. And, the evening just gets 'better' and 'better' as not long after this people start foaming at the mouth, attacking each other, and the government shows up out of nowhere to seal off the building and prevent anyone from getting in or out with authorization to use deadly force. The building is under quarantine. Over the course of the next 30 minutes, many clues will be revealed as to what's going on and been going on in the apartment building. You can see the spoiler for the ending if you wish to find out more about what was going on. The story culminates in one final, very scary confrontation.
While Quarantine is somewhat scary, it relies primarily on fear of the dark and the "stuff jumping out unexpectedly" techniques to make it so. Arguably, the decision to stick with the film being that made by the news camera operator shuts down many, many angles of exploration that could have made the film so much better because as it is we only see what he sees in one continuous line. Who knows what else might have been going on elsewhere that would have been far scarier or more terrifying. Moreover, the leading lady, Ms Jennifer Carpenter folds up half way through into a heavy-panting, constantly wheezing, fraidy-cat. She's no Lt. Ripley staring down the queen alien in other words. Whether is was thought this would make the film more frightening or not isn't known, but it doesn't have that effect. When she does get the notion to be brave, it's ridiculously over-played and seemingly erratic.
… is better than a good number of the entries in the terror category, but that's sadly not saying very much.
Note to Parents: There is absolutely no reason why anyone under 17 would ever in a million years need to see this gruesome, violent film. It is Rated R which means that no one under 17 can get in without a parent or guardian. Don't be that parent or guardian. Certainly don't take kids to see this film because you want to see it and it's now apparently less expensive to bring a kid to a movie than to pay for a babysitter?
Note to MPAA:
It's time for you folks to step up to the plate on this and start rating films like this NC-17. Your continued irresponsibility when it comes to the R-rating for films when you have to know a few things: (A) Kids don't need to see these movies, (B) theaters will work to enforce a no kids zone when it's NC-17, but not when it's R, and (C) the mounting evidence that violent movies have an irrevocably negative impact on younger kids is growing to be more and more insurmountable. The time has come for you to do your duty, if your duty is to rate movies to supply parents and guardians with ample warning as to the contents of a movie, and start passing out more NC-17 to films with a gruesome and violent nature as you do for ones that depict humans in overtly sexual contexts. It's truly reprehensible that anyone would think this movie is not an NC-17, and it's time for parents and guardians to demand better from the MPAA. Here's what their website says constitutes an NC-17 rating:
An NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under. No children will be admitted. NC-17 does not mean “obscene” or “pornographic” in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. The rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience. An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.
Here is their contact information if you'd like to be heard on the issue:
Office of the Chairman and CEO, 1600 Eye St., NW, Washington, DC 20006
202•293•1966 (main) 202•296•7410(fax).
Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word review of this film]
Other Projects Featuring Quarantine (2008)
Jennifer Carpenter • Steve Harris • Jay Hernandez
Johnathon Schaech • Columbus Short • Andrew Fiscella
Rade Serbedzija • Greg Germann • Bernard White
Dania Ramirez • Jermaine Jackson • Marin Hinkle
John Erick Dowdle
John Erick Dowdle • Drew Dowdle