Sunday, November 20, 2011

Horror Film Review

Quarantine 2 (2011):  When I reviewed the first Quarantine movie, I said it was the best  non-zombie, zombie film I'd ever seen.  So how do you suppose the sequel measures up?  What's that expression?  The road to hell is paved with good intentions?  Well, the filmmakers intended to make a decent horror flick but for me, watching it was hell.

I admit, it did start out promising.  We follow two stewardesses as they prepare for their flight out of LAX.  The captain is an older dude, the co-pilot is pasty and sick (a red herring, it turns out).  There's an adolescent boy traveling alone, an asshole and his pregnant wife, a guy with a serious case of Parkinson's and his caretaker, a woman with her pet cat, a mild-mannered school teacher with his class's hamsters that turn out to be lab rats, and a fat guy.  The fat guy gets bit by a "hamster" and becomes very sick very fast.  Seems that the teacher had just come from his lab in a certain apartment complex.  Fat guy goes berserk, bites the face of one of the stewardesses, and winds up locked in a bathroom by his fellow passengers.  The captain calls in an emergency and takes the plane down in a big damn hurry. 

They land but all the control tower will tell them is stay where they are.  (We learn the action from the first movie is still going down when the plane took off.)  The captain ignores the order and pulls up to an unused jetway.  A lone airport worker leads them into the cavernous maze of the baggage distribution center when they discover the terminal is locked up tight.  Then sirens and the guys with hazmat suits and machine guns show up.  The rest of the movie is spent knocking off the passengers one by one until we're left with two.  Yes, the boy is one of them.  Given what I know of the first film, I fully expected the kid to be dragged off to his death by one of the infected but was surprised when he survived.  So what's the twist?  Gotta be a twist, right?  Sort of.  The plane landed in Vegas and the last shot is of the infected pet cat heading for the Strip. 

I really should have liked this movie and think I figured why I didn't.  The first one worked so well for three reasons:  handheld camera work, a claustrophobic setting, and we didn't know what the hell was going on.  These things keep you on edge, raise the level of tension and horror to near unbearable extremes.  There's standard camera work in Quarantine 2, no claustrophobia, and we do know what the hell is going on.  We're left with an oddly lifeless pseudo-zombie flick. 

The Breakdown

Acting:  Weird.  It's not bad, it's  Like their reactions don't match the circumstances. 
Story:  Recycled.
Direction:  After the passengers abandon the plane, there isn't any. 
Production Values:  They use the $4 million budget well.  The film doesn't have that cheap feel to it.
Gore/FX:  There's some blood and related nastiness as you'd expect but they didn't go overboard. 
Scares:   One or two scenes may get your adrenaline flowing.  Not really any "gotcha" jumps, though.
The Ending:  A tired cliche letting us know more mayhem will certainly be forthcoming. 

The Verdict:  Should you see Quarantine 2?  I wouldn't bother.  Go watch the first one again instead.  Or better yet, watch Hanna with Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett.  I saw this film last night, and while it's not horror, it's definitely a thriller and worth your time.

My Rating2 out of 5 stars. 

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