Quarantine (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

“Scary” movies, by and large, are mainly subjective. In that I mean what’s scary to one person might not be scary to another. Heck, a movie about someone losing their job might be the scariest movie of the year right now. However, in terms of the “traditional” scary movie a little film like “Quarantine” certainly follows all the rules and makes for an interesting watch. Watching this film I was reminded of a compilation of others movies that were strikingly similar in tone and physicality. Watching “Quarantine” was like a hybrid between Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later”, “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield” all rolled into one. So while the film doesn’t break too much new ground (and let’s face it, how many actually do these days) it does go about showing us a new way of presenting the same subject matter.

Angela (Jennifer Carpenter from TV’s “Dexter”) and her cameraman, Steve (Scott Percival) are shadowing a local fire department for a television show of sorts. As the tour of the building starts to become a bit boring, Angela and Steve manage to hitch a ride on a routine emergency call. They arrive at an apartment building where some of the residents don’t look so good. Things immediately go from bad to worse when our heroes find out that they’ve been locked in the building with no way of getting out. As members of the apartment building slowly start to exhibit signs of rabies (yes, really) it becomes a fight for survival and getting out of the building is all of the sudden their last worry. Assuming Angela, Jake (Jay Hernandez) the fireman and crew can fight off the zombie-like residents of the building, will they be able to get out of the building and return to their lives?

I had no idea what to expect when popping in “Quarantine”, but as it turns out I was pretty impressed with the film. As I mentioned before, it not the most original movie out there and, in fact, it’s mainly just another take on the classic zombie tale. However, the way in which it was shot and presented on screen makes for a very interesting way of seeing a film. Like “Cloverfield”, we see what the camera sees and it’s almost a documentary-like way of presenting a movie. We all know how most zombie movies end and though I won’t give away the ending, I’ll say that “Quarantine” does have some pretty unforgettable characters as well as some rather interesting ways of dealing with the cast. The film does manage to create a true feeling of creepiness and helplessness that plays more on the primal emotions as opposed to shock value and for that, I’d recommend it.

Video: How does it look?

“Quarantine” is shown in a 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer that looks pretty good. A new movie to the Blu-ray format, we’d expect that this would look good and we’re right. The movie is very dark in tone and the way the movie is physically shot is dark as well. Black levels dominate the screen for a majority of the running time and I was hard-pressed to find any errors. The movie is shot in a way that we see things from the cameraman’s point of view and we don’t have that home video look to it like “The Blair Witch Project”, instead we have a very clean and clear image (and a camera that’s even used as a weapon on a few occasions).

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio mix is unique in that we don’t have any real score. Instead the very active Dolby TrueHD mix is a compilation of helicopters, police and fire sirens and outside noise that creates a true sense of being trapped. This is something I really didn’t pick up on until I watched a few of the featurettes, but after having the filmmakers point it out, it does ring true and I was surprised at how realistic the sirens sounded. I live in an area that’s right down the street from a fire station and the sound is something I’m used to, so I did have to mute the sound a few times during the movie to see if the ambient noise I was hearing was coming from my speakers or outside (and in every instance, it was the movie). A good mix that’s unique to this movie.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“Quarantine” doesn’t have too many supplements, but the included featurettes give us some insight into the stunts (actually one stunt), the makeup used for the zombies in the movie and the obligatory “Making of” featurette that gives us some behind the scenes footage on the film. The commentary track is actually quite engaging as these two young filmmakers chat on and on about the actors, breaking the traditional acting rules like stepping on each other’s lines and the challenge of shooting in a set where there’s supposed to not be any natural light. It’s a good track and one that fans of the film will certainly enjoy. Some trailers are included and the disc is BD Live enabled as well (currently there’s nothing on the site).

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