Longtime readers (Hey, you never know, I might have a few of those) may recall that I described Sunshine as being a little like 28 Days Later in space, because so many of the same people worked on both films. Now we have Quarantine, which is 28 Days Later in a Los Angeles apartment building (the darkest apartment building on earth), only without any of the same actors or crew, and not quite as good.
It isn’t bad, either, but frankly, there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before — except maybe the closeup view of a compound fracture of the leg, and I could’ve lived just fine without seeing that. There’s also the part where you get a close up view of someone being beaten to death, from the point of view of the weapon, but I could’ve lived without seeing that, too.
Anyway, it’s like 28 Days Later, that’s the point. It’s this small group of people fighting to survive as everyone around them starts going crazy and homicidal, except in this case it’s the residents of the apartment building and those few unfortunates that are trying to help them that are in trouble; and the rest of the world is okay. Probably. It’s also like Cloverfield because the story is told through a camera in a sort of first-person view, so be prepared for a lot of weird angles and the picture bouncing around all over the place. The middle-aged lady behind me complained about that. She also didn’t understand the plot and had to keep asking her friend what was going on. I don’t know how I always seem to end up within earshot of these people.

The film is actually never this well-lit, but it’s nice to see what the actress looks like.

A reporter, Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter, from that Dexter TV series), and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) are following around two firemen for the night, like on Cops. She follows them on what seems to be a fairly routine medical call, to help an old lady living alone who started shrieking for no apparent reason, and I’m sure she quickly wishes she hadn’t followed them, but such is the life of a reporter, I guess. One fireman (Jake, played by Jay Hernandez, who was a cop in Lakeview Terrace) wants to hit on Angela, of course, while the other is the mouthy comic relief. But actually, the characters are very believable for the most part, and it really does seem like you’re eavesdropping on things as they happen. And that’s cool.
The building tension is also very good, though the explanation at the end is only so-so. But as things get worse, you do feel like you get pulled in to the situation, so in that sense, the film really works. When the credits started rolling, no one in the theatre moved. Before this, someone always bolted for the door as soon as that first name appeared, so that was pretty strange. By the time the last credit rolls, I’m generally the only one left and the theatre employees are by the exit with brooms, dustpans and barely concealed impatience, waiting for me to leave. But not this time!
So it was an enjoyable 89 minutes, except for the gory parts. And you might get motion sickness, but this time I planned ahead and took dramamine, so I’m going by the middle-aged lady’s complaints, because I was fine. Yes, I am way too pleased with myself about that. Three and a quarter idols out of five this time — like I said, the reason behind all the death isn’t the greatest, but the acting is so good I’m inclined to forgive that little problem. It even demonstrates why having an antenna TV like mine is better than cable — at least when you’re under seige by the CDC.