Quarantine (R)

Horror 89 October 10, 2008
By Jim Ridley
The megaplex boneyard is littered with inferior U.S. remakes of superior overseas horror films, and their existence is even more galling when they keep the originals from getting domestic distribution. It’s a shame that this English-language cover of an excellent Spanish shocker will eclipse the original, at least in U.S. theaters—but even those who despise remakes will have to admit that director John Erick Dowdle’s furious retread is scary as hell. (Unless, that is, they’ve seen the idiot trailer, which gives away the entire damn movie down to the last shot.) Practically a scene-for-scene re-creation, the U.S. version retains the setting—an apartment building under siege by zombie contagion—as well as the gimmick: The movie unfolds in on-the-spot news footage shot by the unlucky crew penned up inside. Far more convincing than Cloverfield or Diary of the Dead in its fake found-footage ambience, Quarantine wisely spends its first 15 minutes acclimating the audience to its chirpy feature-reporter heroine (Jennifer Carpenter). From there, it’s utterly relentless as the dwindling dwellers lunge through infested corridors in gradually vanishing light. The lack of music, the nerve-wracking sound design, the suggestive lighting, and the unobtrusive cutting combine to keep us off-guard, but it’s the ensemble (Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech) led by the appealing Carpenter that evokes batshit terror so convincingly.
John Erick Dowdle Columbus Short, Jay Hernandez, Jennifer Carpenter, Johnathon Schaech, Marin Hinkle, Rade Serbedzija, Denis O'Hare, Steve Harris, Greg Germann, Joey King John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle Anne Clements Screen Gems


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