#194 -- Quarantine (2008)
Director: John Erick Dowdle
A lot of people seem to like the "found footage" type of movies. I've heard people say they're wonderful because they make things more believable. If it seems like everything is being tape right as it's happening, of course it's easier to believe. But I have a few problems with that. First: who in their right mind would think to continue lugging a camera around to record the awful things going on? Personally, I'd drop the camera and run. I wouldn't care about catching anything on film; I'd be worried about getting my ass out of there alive. The only reason they continue carrying the camera around is so that we can see what's happening. That completely ruins the whole "it makes it more believable" thing. Second, since this person is carrying the camera while running for their life, things are really jumpy. It's hard to follow what's happening; it's hard to tell what's happening to which people. It just makes the whole movie hard to follow. I'm not a fan of this kind of film-making, but I will remain optimistic. I think that if a movie is made well enough, even this can work. Quarantine was not that movie. I've only seen one other movie like this, and that was The Blair Witch Project. I hated Blair Witch, and I will admit that this one was a lot better. But I still didn't like it. It wasn't just the found footage aspect of it. I was with it (for the most part) up until the end; that's where it was ruined for me.
It started off at a fire house. A reporter, Angela, was doing some kind of documentary on the firemen. So, the first five or ten minutes was her getting a tour of the firehouse and interviewing firemen. That would be very interesting if I was looking to watch a documentary on firemen; but I wasn't. It seemed to start off slow to me. When the firemen got a call, Angela and her camera man went along with them. It wasn't a fire they were chasing, but an elderly woman who was possibly in trouble. The landlord of the apartment called them because he'd heard screaming coming from her apartment. When they arrived, the woman attacked a policeman. The policemen, the firemen, Angela and her camera man, and all the residents grouped up in the lobby; they all discovered that they were locked inside.
The authorities had--shocker!--quarantined them inside the building. There was a doctor among them, and he looked at the two people who had been injured up to that point. He said they showed signs of rabies, and everyone learned later that it started with a sick dog that infected other dogs, blah blah. So it was some kind of mutated strain of the rabies virus that was turning people into crazy flesh-eaters.
While everyone was getting attacked and turning into monsters, our camera man never failed at his job. He kept rolling, even after being chased, falling down stairs, etc. He and Angela ended up being the last two (how else would we learn how it ended?), and they found some creepy stuff in the basement. I think the landlord created the virus for whatever reason; it was called the Armageddon virus (according to a newspaper clipping), and I think it started with rats. There were cages all over the basement, and some infected person up in a crawlspace. All of this could have been great without the found footage thing. I like the story, but it was hard to follow because of all the jumpy shooting. I also had a problem with the ending. It was abrupt, and there was no resolution. I like for things to be resolved; for some solution to be found. I guess because I'm a woman, I like a happy ending. Or at least an ending of some sort. Quarantine didn't really have one. So it was okay up until that point, but the ending ruined it for me. Again, it's a lot better than the other movie I've seen of this sort. But I still wouldn't call it amazing.