“You are now under quarantine.”
The whole thing started with the Spanish film [REC]. In that film an apartment building in Spain was ground zero for a terrifying plague. The building was quickly isolated, and anyone trying to leave was gunned down mercilessly. It was one of those amateur-video kind of films that was told completely from the point of view of the people inside the building through camcorder footage. The success inspired an immediate American version that kept the general idea but moved the apartment building to America. That film was Quarantine. In 2009 the original filmmakers continued their story with [REC]2. That film picked up at exactly the point where the first ended. Investigators are sent inside, and again it’s all told from the “found” footage perspective. You can find reviews of these films here on Upcomingdiscs. M.W. Phillips gave us an excellent look at the latest Spanish film here: [REC]2 review
You would expect Quarantine 2: Terminal to follow in the footsteps of the Spanish franchise, but it doesn’t. The only connection to either of the [REC] films or the original Quarantine is the plague itself. It still turns those infected almost immediately into rampaging creatures very much like zombies. There’s a religious component to the Spanish series, but that is not really a part of the American franchise. This movie does indeed pick up where the other film ended, but we’re no longer at the site of the original outbreak. This time we’re about to board a redeye flight, and the plague is about to come along for the trip.
Jenny (Masohn) is a flight attendant on Flight 318 to Seattle. All begins rather normally until one of the passengers is bitten by a “hamster” and suddenly turns violent. He causes mayhem on the flight, and the plane is nearly brought down trying to contain him. The flight is ordered to make an emergency landing. When they reach the airport they find that their gate and terminal have been locked down. The feds know what this is, and they’re going to exercise the same strict containment they did at the apartment building. No one is getting out. The rest is pretty predictable stuff. One by one the passengers are infected or killed by the infected.
There are many significant differences between this and the first film. We are no longer hampered by the whole “found” footage device. It’s actually quite a welcome change. And while this film really doesn’t offer anything terribly original, it is a pretty good film for what it is. The acting is actually pretty solid, particularly that of Mercedes Masohn who plays Jenny. There are more than enough twists and turns to keep the film interesting, and the pace is just about right throughout. One of the remarkable things about this movie is that it doesn’t rely so much on the gore and kills. There’s a bit of clever interaction that carries more of the weight of the drama. That’s not to say there isn’t a good helping of infected killers and the blood that they inevitably spill. You just won’t find yourself looking at your watch between kills wondering when things are going to pick up.
With that said, this can’t help but be a huge disappointment to the [REC] fans. It might as well not be considered a part of that franchise at all. The film completely neglects the mythology that was started in the original series. That means there isn’t near the depth in this film that you’ll be expecting if that’s your point of interest. This is merely a Ten Little Indians horror film that happens to share a pedigree you might recognize, but that’s in name only. With that caution, you might end up enjoying this one for what it is and not what it isn’t.
Quarantine 2: Terminal is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The image quality here is quite neutral. There isn’t anything here that particularly stands out, but there isn’t anything seriously wrong that will distract you, either. The image looks quite natural throughout. The blood and gore don’t really jump out at you like many films. The production design is solid. The terminal location is a lot more effective, actually, than an apartment building. Black levels are only fair, and you will catch a glimpse or two of compression artifact.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track takes you where you need to go. The score is often subtle, and it works here. Dialog comes through clean and clear. There isn’t really a lot in the way of surrounds, and the sub response is just as weak. It’s an average audio presentation.
Talk about your airborne virus. The idea of a plane and airport terminal is one I very much enjoyed. I’m afraid that my enjoyment of the film might be looked upon harshly by those who, correctly enough, point out what a lame edition to the entire mythos this film really is. It’s a fair point, and perhaps this should have just been called something else. It’s not like anyone has claim to the whole zombie/virus routine at this point. Writer and director John Pogue didn’t have anything to do with any of the other films. It’s really his first attempt at directing. He kept it pretty simple and doesn’t seem to really be aiming for the original fans. Sergio Aguero acts as a producer, but I suspect he had little to do with what we see on the screen. There’s really no other connection here to be found. If you are a fan of the original films, I’m told that those guys will be cranking out a [REC]3. So, hold on, “Help is on the way.“