Friday, January 15, 2010

Quarantine. B-

Since 'The Blair Witch Project,' the use of a hand-held low-res video camera to shoot a scary movie has become a somewhat popular way to make the images on the screen seem genuine. It simply scares the audience more. When done right, that is. This technique is used in 'Quarantine,' a remake of the Spanish horror film 'REC.' And though it's actually not a very scary movie, at least by my standards, I actually kind of liked it. It takes a little while to get going as we're introduced to Angela a loquacious reporter, who along with her cameraman, is preparing to visit an LA fire department. They get to the station and we get an idea of what their life is like. Then, during the night, a call comes in and the firemen scramble from their beds and get in the truck. Angela and her cameraman make sure to tag along. They arrive at an apartment complex and find an elderly woman screaming in her room, covered in blood. It turns out that there's some sort of virus going around. No one can leave the complex. One by one the members of the apartment get infected and we sort of wonder if there will be a hero or if it's one of those movies where everyone, even the main character, gets unlucky. As I said, 'Quarantine' isn't very scary. The concept is creepy and there are some shocking, hair-rising moments. But in terms of true fright flicks, this one wasn't one of them. Still, the story is clever and the movie is well constructed. It all fits together nicely and doesn't really get out of hand until the end. I also thought that Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Angela, was pretty good, even if her character gets a little irritating towards the end (though we don't exactly blame her). Good horror movies these days are few and far between. 'Quarantine' is one of them. It isn't great, but it's definitely respectable because of its smart story and because it doesn't only rely on 'cheap thrills.'

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