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Quarantine

Since Lon Chaney spooked fans with his many ghoulish faces, the horror genre has maintained its purpose in scaring audiences.  Technological advances may have seen the stories told differently but its essential rhythm and drive have remained.  Quarantine updates the usual staples with a shaky camera capturing all manner of shocking moments.  Stylistically similar to The Blair Witch Project, it shows that terror and darkness can combine in gripping its prey with pure dread.
News reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) is filing a segment about the night shift at the local fire-station.  Accompanied by her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris), her perky personality seems to win over the stoic fire-men including Jake (Jay Hernandez). When called to an emergency at a hotel, the crew race to the scene not knowing they have sealed their doom.  Once inside they discover a rancid plague has infected its inhabitants turning them into bloodthirsty zombies.  Out of luck and on the run, they try all manner of ways to escape their fate much to the nonchalance of outsiders keen to keep them inside.
Joining a growing breed of horror movies Quarantine drags its audience right in the heat of battle.  Not only are we asked to watch what happens but also share the character’s experiences.  Taking away the easy option of a musical soundtrack to heighten emotions, the various noises and creaks almost bring a primal feel. The film continues an emerging trend in returning to the genre’s roots in its brass tacks delivery.  Whilst some minor use of gore is evident, it relies more on the dynamics of everyone involved and the paranoia that arises from an uncontrollable situation.
Although not the best of its kind, Quarantine at least makes you care about the characters until its rather messy conclusion.  Until then the viewer has to piece together what’s happening via the information the camera provides.  This in turn keeps momentum going very nicely with some genuinely creepy moments. Unlike others it has a tight focus with the main action confined to the building.  It’s interesting how many zombie related movies have a sense of hopelessness attached, something which this film seems to have copied from the zombie handbook.
Quarantine is a fairly reasonable chiller effectively increasing  its pervading atmosphere.  The likes of horror maestros Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi may marvel at today’s techno wizardry, but even they should be pleased their macabre legacy still thrives with films like these.
Rating out of 10:  6

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