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John Erick Dowdle
Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech
Writing Credits:
John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle

After the outbreak of a mysterious virus turns humans into bloodthirsty killers, a television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC.

Box Office:
$12 million.
Opening Weekend
$14,211,321 on 2461 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 2/17/2009

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director John Erick Dowdle and Writer/Producer Drew Dowdle
• “Locked In” Featurette
• “Dressing the Infected” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Stunt” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


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Quarantine [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 4, 2022)

For a horror film in the “found footage” manner of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, we head to 2008’s Quarantine. An adaptation of a Spanish flick called Rec, Quarantine present a TV news team that follows a fire crew.

Reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and cameraman Scott Percival (Steve Harris) concentrate on firefighters Jake (Jay Hernandez) and George (Johnathon Schaech). After a slow night, they finally get a call for a medical emergency in an apartment building.

A Mrs. Espinoza (Jeannie Epper) has been acting erratically, and her oddness takes a dark turn when she chomps on a cop. This sets a lot of freaky events into play, and the folks in the building end up locked inside by the authorities. We follow the terror that follows as plenty of mayhem ensues.

It’d be easy to view Quarantine as a rip-off of Cloverfield, but that wouldn’t be fair. It’s based on a Spanish film called REC, and since that flick hit screens a couple of months prior to Cloverfield, one can’t accuse this remake of stealing from the hit monster movie.

Nonetheless, I found it tough to avoid comparisons between the two. I really liked Cloverfield and thought it achieved its goals.

The movie offered a decent reinvention of the monster movie genre via its “you are there” sensibility, and I hoped that Quarantine might do the same for horror.

Unfortunately, it drops the ball to a moderate degree. This doesn’t mean the movie fails, as it offers a reasonably interesting take on its subject matter, and I do like the first-person perspective.

We see all the events from the point of view experienced by the folks stuck in the apartment building. This means no cuts to outsiders on the streets or anything else, so it’s all one camera and nothing else.

The choice to have a professional cameraman character shoot everything also means Quarantine can justify better photography than Cloverfield. One of my frustrations with that movie came from all the crummy camera angles.

Often we’d see someone’s shoes instead of real action. However, those decisions made sense since they represented what footage shot by an amateur in an emergency setting would film.

In this case, we still get some ugly angles, but the choices prove more aesthetically pleasing while they remain logical within the on-the-fly framework. The decision to have the film told by the work of a professional allows Quarantine to stick within its first-person perspective but not look like crap.

All of this means that Quarantine looks more like a “real movie” than does Cloverfield, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing overall. One other difference comes from the films’ casts.

While Cloverfield mostly went with unknowns, Quarantine features moderately known actors, and this tends to take us out of the “reality” to a degree. It’s not a fatal flaw, and the actors do fine in their roles, but when a movie relies so much on a sense of documentary realism, it becomes a bit of a problem.

Despite these issues, I think Quarantine has its moments, and to be sure, I like the first-person perspective. Quarantine exploits that POV fairly well.

The movie also manages to improve as it progresses. The first two acts can be somewhat tedious at times, and they don’t provide a lot of real tension.

However, matters become more dynamic during the last half-hour or so. The flick goes into high gear as it presents non-stop drama, and that means it ends on a positive note.

So chalk up Quarantine as an occasionally satisfying horror flick. It doesn’t succeed on a consistent basis, and it pales in comparison to the better known Cloverfield. Still, it’s an intriguing twist on the standard horror flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Quarantine appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film’s stylistic roots meant the picture didn’t excel, but I thought it looked fine within those constraints.

Sharpness usually seemed solid. The shooting style meant lots of out of focus elements, but those had nothing to do with the transfer itself. The disc featured delineation that was perfectly appropriate for the various shots.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, though I noticed some light edge haloes. Source flaws also remained absent.

Colors tended to be low-key. The movie usually made things look somewhat monochromatic, which made sense within the format since so much of the flick took place in the dark apartment building setting. Though the hues never seemed memorable, they were adequate for what I expected.

Blacks looked solid, while shadows were a bit erratic. Usually the low-light shots seemed fine, but a few seemed somewhat dense. Overall, this was a satisfying presentation.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Quarantine, it was more active than I expected, which may actually have been a negative. Through the flick, the filmmakers slavishly adhered to the “fly on the wall” video photography.

This means there’s not a single shot that didn’t look like it came from the news crew. However, the multichannel audio violated that sense of realism.

And it did so virtually all the time through the movie. Most of the material reflected the sense of siege that came with the apartment building confinement.

The track featured a nearly constant presence of helicopters that whirred around the spectrum. The sounds of other emergency vehicles and whatnot also came from the sides and rears. The film featured no score at all.

Why did the filmmakers decide to break the realism with so much material from the surrounds? That choice was satisfying in terms of movie enjoyment but still seemed inappropriate since there was no way a newscrew would capture stereo surround information.

The track integrated the back speakers well, and I thought the mix left a very good impression of all the mayhem, but I was a bit disappointed the film dropped the ball when it came to attempted auditory realism.

I suspect that the filmmakers chose to go with multichannel audio simply as a nod to the demands of modern cinema. That was why the folks who made Cloverfield did it, and I thought that the use of surround audio was even less justifiable in that case.

For Quarantine, it felt less like a violation of the film’s universe. Cloverfield tried much harder to present a sense of realism, whereas Quarantine made more concessions to feature films.

It used recognizable actors and superior camera equipment. Both it and Cloverfield shared a “found footage” dynamic, but Quarantine looked and felt a whole lot more like a movie.

Because of that, I didn’t really mind the lack of realistic sound. Audio quality was consistently good – and definitely better than the news crew would’ve captured on the scene.

Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Effects sounded accurate and full. The movie boasted very good bass response when necessary.

Again, no music appeared, so that wasn’t an issue. Despite some qualms about the lack of realism inherent in the audio presentation, I still found it to be satisfying.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio added some warmth and impact, even if both provided similar soundfields.

As for the visuals, they showed the format-related uptick one might expect, with stronger accuracy and colors. The nature of the source meant this never became a great-looking presentation, but it felt more watchable than the DVD.

The Blu-ray repeats the extras from the DVD, and the disc opens with an audio commentary from writer/director John Erick Dowdle and writer/producer Drew Dowdle. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, camerawork and technical considerations, attempts at verisimilitude, effects and makeup, sound design, editing and pacing, rehearsals and shooting concerns, and a few other technical topics.

Only a few slow spots ever mar this generally fine commentary. The Dowdle brothers usually dig into the film with gusto and provide a lot of good insights. You should learn quite about the movie’s creation in this satisfying discussion.

Three featurettes follow. Locked In: The Making of Quarantine runs 10 minutes, five seconds and includes notes from John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle, executive producer Glenn S. Gainor, cinematographer Ken Seng, editor Elliott Greenberg, production designer Jon Gary Steele, producer Sergio Aguero, and actors Johnathon Schaech, Greg Germann, Jay Hernandez, Columbus Short, Jennifer Carpenter, Stacy Chbosky, and Dania Ramirez.

The program looks at cast and performances, shooting methods and cinematography, editing, sets, and various concerns. If you already listened to the commentary, you’ve already learned virtually everything discussed here. “Locked In” adds some behind the scenes shots, but those aren’t enough to make it especially worthwhile.

Dressing the Infected: Robert Hall’s Make-up Design goes for seven minutes, 29 seconds and features Gainor, John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle, Chbosky, Ramirez, and special makeup designer Robert Hall.

As expected, the show looks at the methods used to bring the film’s infection victims to life. We find a mix of good details in this gross but informative piece.

Finally, Anatomy of a Stunt lasts three minutes, 23 seconds and presents remarks from John Erick Dowdle and stunt coordinator Lance Gilbert. We see the execution of one particular stunt. It’s a short piece but it proves interesting.

Previews offers promos for Passengers (2008), Resident Evil: Degeneration, Vacancy 2: The First Cut, Lakeview Terrace, Pineapple Express and Hancock. No trailer for Quarantine shows up here.

Ala Cloverfield, Quarantine offers a first-person film, one that reworks the standard horror flick. While not as consistently engaging as Cloverfield, Quarantine works acceptably well. I can find a mix of flaws but still think it gives us reasonable entertainment. The Blu-ray boasts positive picture and audio as well as some interesting extras, as a very good audio commentary fares the best. Though this isn’t a movie I enjoyed to a tremendous degree, I think horror fans will want to give it a look.

To rate this film, visit the DVD edition of QUARANTINE

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