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Quarantine (DVD Review)

13 Feb, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

Street 2/17/09
Sony Pictures
Box Office $31.7 million
$28.96 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, $24.94 UMD
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violent and disturbing content, terror and language.
Stars Jennifer Carpenter, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Harris, Columbus Short, Jay Hernandez.

I burn through horror movies like candy, and it’s been a long time since a film scared me as much as Quarantine.

It wasn’t the blood and guts or the things jumping out from behind corners. What put the fright into me was the perfectly relayed message that, yes, what happens in this movie could easily happen in real life. No zombie movie or supernatural slasher flick has ever instilled the same sense of despair and hopelessness that Quarantine delivers.

Much like Paramount’s very entertaining Cloverfield, the story is told via a videotape left behind after the carnage. Yet while Cloverfield took place in epic, all-over-New-York-City fashion, Quarantine is a scarier film, thanks to its nearly exclusive location: an old apartment building.

A blood-curdling scream alarms the residents, who call 911. Emergency workers find a woman covered in blood, frothing at the mouth and biting anyone she sees. As injuries mount, the residents attempt to escape, only to find themselves trapped.

The quarantine victims make some of the same old standby groan-inducing horror-movie-victim mistakes, such as walking into pitch-black rooms and walking up to strangers when they should know better. But our subjects also do what we all would probably do in this situation: wait it out.

However,  when the lights are turned off and a disheartening TV broadcast gets through on an analog set, our victims have their answer: They’re on their own.

Quarantine is one of those unique horror films that punches you in the gut, not because of the way people die, but because of the cruel reality of the situation — some must die for others to live. Where this film really succeeds is sending the viewer off with the understanding that what we just saw isn’t all that far-fetched.

Extras on the DVD are sadly thin. The commentary, making-of, anatomy of a scene and makeup featurettes are nice and all, but left me wanting more, such as examples of real-life quarantines.

On second thought, maybe I’m better off not knowing.

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