Starring Jennifer Carpenter and Jay Hernandez. Rated 14A.
It’s been almost a decade since The Blair Witch Project, but the fallout from that film’s then-original found-footage conceit still radiates today.
Earlier this year, you had the Godzilla-like destruction of Manhattan being documented by Cloverfield’s inexperienced videographer, whose herky-jerky camera work was off-putting to the extreme. Get ready for 90 more minutes of irritating, first-person POV action with Quarantine, a jittery remake of the 2007 Spanish shocker [REC].
Jennifer Carpenter plays spunky TV reporter Angela, who, accompanied by cameraman Scott (Steve Harris), is shooting a puff piece on Los Angeles firefighters. After several forgettable firehall scenes in which she flirts with one fireman (Jay Hernandez) and playfully deflects the macho come-ons of another (Johnathon Schaech), a 911 call gets everyone racing off to a downtown apartment complex.
When the rescue and TV crews, along with two cops, enter an apartment where screams have been heard, they’re set upon by a foaming-at-the-mouth old hag with a hunger for hunky firemen’s throats. Shortly thereafter, the Centers for Disease Control seals off the building, and before you can say “Cujo”, rumours of a rabies outbreak have the trapped occupants in a panic.
I don’t care how dedicated a TV journalist you are: when a rabid, shrieking hellion lunges for your neck, teeth a-gnashin’, it’s time to hit the standby button and defend yourself.
But Quarantine’s wacky cameraman keeps it firmly on record, using the fragile tool of his trade to continually bash a zombielike fiend in the face until she’s dead and the lens is splattered with blood. Luckily, the killer camera keeps on ticking, right through to the Blair Witch rip-off ending you already saw in the trailer.
At least director John Erick Dowdle—who also went the found-footage horror route with The Poughkeepsie Tapes—stopped short of having snot drip from Carpenter’s overstressed nostrils.