Like I said earlier, when this movie first came out, it looked pretty intriguing and piqued my interest in watching it. However, I never did go see it in theaters, mainly because I was pretty strapped for cash at the time. Then came the “Blockbuster Day”, meaning the days that Blockbuster stores were going out of business left and right and I was able to pick up dozens of movies on the cheap. Well, today’s movie was one of the movies that I would buy during that time. Now it’s time to see how the remake stands up to the original with today’s movie, Quarantine.
The plot: Reporter Angela Vidal and her cameraman Scott Percival are doing a report on firefighters at a Los Angeles fire station. After talking with the station’s captain and meeting Jake and Fletcher, the firefighters she will be accompanying for the night, Angela passes the time filming some of the history and day to day activities that occur. When the firefighters answer a call, Angela and Scott accompany them to an apartment complex, where they find police cars outside. When they head inside, they see several of the building’s residents in the lobby and are met by a police officers who tells them that an old woman had locked herself in her apartment and loud screams were heard coming from there. Heading upstairs, they meet the second officer and attempt to contact the woman inside the apartment but failing that, Jake uses a sledgehammer to break the lock and enter the apartment. Inside, the find the woman acting strange and the police attempt to calm her down but after several attempts, the woman freaks out and attacks one of the officers, biting him in the neck. As the others rush to pull the woman off of him, Fletcher manages to hold her down while Jake and the other officer, Danny, grab the injured man and carry him downstairs to get medical help, only to be told by the residents that people outside are not letting them leave. Angela and Jake try yelling outside at the people while Danny tries getting help on his radio when they hear the people outside using a bullhorn to tell them to stay calm and remain in the lobby of the building. One of the residents is a vet and tries treating the injured officer while Jake asks the building’s super, Yuri, about a closed area in the back of the lobby when Fletcher’s body suddenly falls to the lobby floor. While Jake and Danny check to see if Fletcher is still alive, Angela and Scott head upstairs and run into a second woman in the apartment, who drops dead at their feet. When the old woman rushes towards them, Danny is forced to shoot the woman, then gets mad at Scott because he filmed it. Jake and Angela begin going to all of the other apartments to get the other residents downstairs and in one apartment, find a woman who is seriously sick and help her downstairs while Scott sees a rat deliberately coming after him and is forced to kill it. Once downstairs, Jake tries to smash a window so they can get out and get help when they see armed men pointing guns at them, just before bulldozers arrive and block the windows. Yuri tells Jake that there might be another way out from the second floor, where they can jump onto an overhang on the next building but when they get there, they find soldiers there sealing off the building. With nothing to do but wait, Angela begins interviewing some of the residents when they are shocked to see Fletcher standing up, despite a severely broken leg. Jake and Danny grab Fletcher while the vet gives him a shot to sedate him, then explains to them that the symptoms of the sick people looks like rabies but is taking minutes to show symptoms instead of months. One of the residents decides to head back to his apartment and wait for things there while Angela and Scott follow two other residents to see if they can see anything on the TV as to what is going on. When they head upstairs, they are confronted by a dog that seems like it is going to attack them when the elevator opens up and the other resident exits, only to run back in with the dog chasing after him and they can hear the dog attacking and killing the man. Heading up to the couple’s apartment, they see the news broadcast where the police chief is telling the reporter that the building has been evacuated, just before they are attacked by a woman and Scott uses the camera to kill her. Heading back downstairs, the learn that some men from the CDC are coming in and Jake and Danny start getting a head count to see if all the residents are there and learn that the father of an immigrant family is stuck upstairs, as he is seriously ill. When the CDC come in, they are upset about Scott trying to film them and head into the workshop where the sick and injured people are being kept. Jake and Danny go with them and when the CDC closes the door, Angela and Scott find a nearby window so Scott can film what is going on. He witnesses one of the agents taking a brain sample from Fletcher when Fletcher suddenly rises up and starts attacking him. Jake, Danny, and the other CDC agent quickly leave the area and close the shutters for the workshop, then Jake and Danny force the agent to tell them what is going on. The agent explains that a sick dog was taken to a vet and ended up infecting the other animals and the dogs collar showed it belonged to this apartment. Learning the dog’s name, they realize that it belongs to Briana, a little girl that is sick and when they move towards Briana and her mom, her mom explains that she just has bronchitis when Briana suddenly bites her mom then runs upstairs. Grabbing Briana’s mom, Danny and Jake handcuff her and when the immigrant woman worries about her mother, the CDC agent gives Danny a syringe to inject Briana with, then tells them to head upstairs to get the father and bring him down and Angela and Scott go with them. Passing by the room they broke into, they discover that the old woman’s body is missing, then the discover Briana hiding in a closet. Danny approaches her and she bites him and Danny tells them to run as he grabs her and locks himself in a room, and Jake manages to kill the old woman with the sledgehammer as they leave the apartment. Heading back downstairs, they see the other residents running upstairs as the infected people begin breaking out of the workshop and Jake grabs Angela, who was trying to free Briana’s mom, leaving her to be killed by the infected. Jake, Scott, and Angela run into an apartment, where they find Yuri and three other people (a couple and an old woman) hiding and they all ask if anyone has been bitten and one of the woman shows her bloody hand. When Yuri says they have to kill the woman, the woman’s husband tells them no, then races to the window to try and shout for help, only to be killed by a sniper on the roof next door. As they all take cover from the sniper, Yuri tells Jake that there might be another way out, mentioning a grate for a sewer in the basement, but before he can say anything else, he is attacked by an infected person and as the second woman tries to help him, she is attacked by the injured woman. Angela, Jake, and Scott quickly leave the apartment and, trying to figure out where Yuri lives so they can get the keys for the grate, they head downstairs to check the mailboxes. Finding out the right apartment, they turn around only to find Briana’s mom has now turned and they race past her towards the elevators, where Jake kills the dog that was trapped inside and they head up to the 4th floor. On the 4th floor, they are attacked by an infected woman and Jake eventually manages to kill her, then they head to Yuri’s apartment and Jake deals with another infected person while Angela and Scott look for the keys. After finding the keys, they start to head downstairs when an infected Yuri attacks Jake and bites him and, seeing more infected people coming after them, Scott and Angela are forced to head upstairs to an attic apartment, whose tenant has not been seen in months. After locking the door, they find several cages of rats and several documents, as well as an old reel to reel recorder indicating that the owner had stolen a virus from a chemical weapons lab. When an attic door suddenly drops open, Scott takes the camera and uses it to look around up there, only for a small boy to knock it from his hands, smashing the light. Scott finds the camera and turns on the night vision in order to see when he sees something moving and quickly grabs Angela and hides as a gaunt, man walks by them searching for food. Realizing that the figure can not see them, they attempt to leave the room but when they accidentally knock something over, the figure races towards them and attacks Scott, who drops the camera. Angela manages to find the camera and picks it up, where she is able to see the figure feeding on Scott before it lunges at her. Angela drops the camera during the scuffle and as she starts crawling towards it, she is suddenly dragged off into the darkness.
Quarantine met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Quarantine uses effective atmosphere and consistent scares to stand above the crop of recent horror films.” When the directors’ of [REC] watched the movie, they had differing opinions on it, with Jaume Balaguero not liking it, as he felt it was just a copy of his movie and left him unable to really enjoy it. However, Paco Plaza liked that it helped make their own movie more famous, as everyone was talking about the Hollywood remake of it. The movie would be a modest hit at the box office, earning $41.3 million off of a $12 million budget.
On it’s own, this is a pretty good horror movie. Jennifer Carpenter did a good job in her role of Angela, and I liked Jay Hernandez (Jake) and Rade Serbedzija (Yuri) in their roles. The story was good, but definitely changed some from the original movie as infection was a virus instead of a demonic possession. The special effects were pretty good and definitely showed some of Hollywood’s love for blood and gore. Like I said, it’s good on it’s own merits but as far as a remake goes, this one pales in comparison to the original in almost every aspect, especially in the mood of the movie as the original definitely had a darker, more effective mood than this one. Still, this is worth a watch if you are a fan of zombie style horror movies.
Rating: 4 out of 5