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Quarantine Poster

A 2008 horror film directed by John Erick Dowdle

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Perhaps the most truly frightening movie I've ever seen

  • Feb 20, 2009
  • by
This review will contain spoilers. You've been warned.

When I first even heard of Quarantine, I was at a rental shop checking out some games for the Nintendo Wii, and the cashier was watching it on a TV next to the register. At first I thought I was watching the Blair Witch Project due to the style of filming the movie incorporates; all shot from the perspective of one of the actors on a hand-held camera. Instantly intrigued, I shortly thereafter sat down with the film and, lo and behold, uncovered one of the most truly frightening and realistic horror movies I could remember experiencing.

It all begins as a (quite cute) reporter and her cameraman shadow a local crew of firefighters for a night for a news piece. It's indicated early that the reporter crew are lookng for some real action and mostly have a flat piece on their hands, showing the audience the different sections of the fire station, from the antique "hook ladder" to the similarly-aged sliding pole (which the female reporter takes an immediate liking to). This early humor sets the pace, getting the viewer used to the shaky, somewhat jarring but altogether effective style of filming and introducing a couple of firefighters who play major roles throughout the film.

It all begins to go wrong when a call to an emergency at a multi-story apartment building comes in. The reporter and her cameraman tag alone in a fire engine as they make their way to the emergency. There they find residents in fear of an old reclusive woman who was heard shrieking from her apartment, fearful for her safety and of whatever could have made her so terrified. Police are also on the scene. Everything appears more or less normal until...until the woman attacks an officer and scares the living hell right out of you. It's at this moment that you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat, and you won't be moving until the final second of film rolls past.

From this point on, things become increasingly terrible for those in the apartment building, as the incident turns out to be a much bigger deal than anyone had anticipated. The government steps in and literally quarantines the building, holding everyone inside. An unlikely hero, a vetenarian, makes the discovery of what it is the outside world is afraid of, and what's caused more and more of the residents to become frenzied, thoughtless beasts.

I won't spoil it anymore, just to mention that with each passing moment, your dread should increase along with the very believable characters'. Your terror should hit peaks you didn't realize possible. This coming from someone who absolutely loves to be scared but has an extremely hard time finding truly horrifying films (The last I can remember that most probably won't agree with me on was Signs). I whole-heartedly recommend Quarantine to any horror movie fan, especially those who enjoyed the "Night of the Living Dead" films as the isolation and nervous terror aspects are in full swing here. One of the 5 best horror movies I've ever seen, an instant classic in my book.

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August 11, 2009
I Haven't seen this, but I'm going to have to check it out!  Though it isn't realistic in any sense, the scariest movie I have seen to date is Event Horizon!  I used to have nightmare about that movie.  Pretty freaky! 
July 25, 2009
AS for ripping off, this film is actually almost identical to a Spanish language film called (REC) that still hasn't been released here. Most people say its superior to QUARRANTINE.
May 12, 2009
I love the way it ended, and the scene you're referring to (the attic) truly made me jump! I've seen 28 Weeks Later and enjoyed it, but nowhere near as much as 28 Days Later. Have yet to see The Invasion, but hopefully I get around to it soon. Glad you enjoyed the review!
May 12, 2009
The end of this movie was so creepy! Have you seen 28 Weeks Later or The Invasion? Check out @trashcanman, "The perfect horror sequel".
March 06, 2009
Well, it has some similarities to Cloverfield, for sure. But where that movie failed in my eyes was the sci-fi-ish unrealistic nature of what was causing all the terror. Where "Quarantine" succeeds is where "Cloverfied" failed; you can't help but believe, however distinctly, that a disaster of this sort is totally possible. To me, the true test of any horror/thriller picture is in it's ability to be related to the common person's everyday life. This is why Signs scared me to the core, why Night of the Living Dead continues to make me approach graveyards with a chill down my spine, why Halloween makes me terrified of psychopaths. Reality is more frightening than any invented terror, no matter how creative or inventive. Glad you liked the review; hope you like the film!
March 06, 2009
The premise of this movie reminds me a bit of "Cloverfield." This is definitely going in my Netflix cue. (I always say that to @trashcanman and @Schtinky, who write great thriller reviews, like you!)
February 21, 2009
I always thought Signs was weak also, but it was one of those movies that I've never forgotten about. It was one of those "what if it really did happen" movies - and that was what made it pretty scary. But otherwise, I thought it was pretty anti-climatic. I agree with you on the eerie thought of finding one of those cornfields in person, though.
February 20, 2009
Okay, the other four would be: Signs (I have a very deep fear of alien invasion, and I believe fully in some of the UFO sightings that are reported around the world. The ending spoiled most of the fun, but the cornfield scene really left a mark). The original Night of the Living Dead (black and white). Creepy as hell. Halloween or Halloween II. Both equally frightening to me, but the whole "Myers cannot die" deal was kinda lame. Last but not least, Nosferatu, the old silent Vampire film. That guy was extremely creepy. I also love "Shadow of the Vampire", which is not so scary but an entertaining fictional look at the filming of Nosferatu. Oh, and DJ...yeah, there's some rip-off going on, for sure. But Quarantine is infinitely more believable and terrifying, in my opinion, than what was happening in Cloverfield or Blair Witch. But that's just me, and I didn't expect anyone to agree with me on this for just those reasons. Thanks for all the comments though, nice to know people are reading!
February 20, 2009
I have seen this film and I have to disagree with you. I didn't think it was scary at all. It ripped off Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project, both of which were much scarier. The camera was grainy and shaky, and the ending is in the trailer. I saw the original version too from Spain and that equally sucked!
February 20, 2009
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More Quarantine reviews
review by . August 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     You might as well not listen to anything I say in this review. "Quarantine" was not made for me, or anybody who saw the original film that it is based off of, "REC". It was impossible for me to enjoy myself, as the film doesn't intend on delivering much new; but maybe that's what some people will like about it. Formula works with some people and tells others, almost instantly, to stay far away. The formula that "Quarantine" is using works, but that doesn't …
review by . February 21, 2011
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Yeah its another Zombie flick.
I love these shaky camera movies. Movies like these really ramp up the tension for the viewers. Quarentine was a great movie. Yeah I know its a zombie flick GOD KNOWS HOW MANY OF THOSE IVE SEEN. But what makes Quarentine different from all ths others is where it takes place and the circumstances that the characters find themselves in. Quarentine like all horror movies starts off mondane, then quckly makes its way to the supernatural.The basic plot of the movie is that a new network whats to do a …
review by . March 31, 2009
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Movie Poster
I am not exactly fond of remakes. True, some of my favorite films like Cronenberg's "The Fly" and Carpenter's "The Thing" were major remakes which are arguably better than the original. I do somewhat believe that sometimes remakes are necessary because of the generation and the age of the original. However, the recent remakes of Asian horror were more disasters than successes. (I think "The Ring" was the last decent Asian horror remake) "Quarantine" …
review by . April 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
QUARANTINE       Angela is a reporter who is working a story on a local fire department; she is having fun but is looking to go out on a call. So she films herself hanging out with and playing around with the firemen waiting to get some really good footage. She finally gets her wish when the alarm goes off and every one is rushing to the fire trucks. When they come across the building the call came from they notice it is not on fire, but something wicked is waiting inside. Turns …
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Such a pointless plot, it made no sense and thought they were clever with the "camera eye". Been there, done that.
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
awful, the Spanish version is way better... so watch rec
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
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This movie was scary to me I am not sure I would watch it again think of swine flu!
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A movie filled with bad acting, horrid camera work, and a predictable storyline, all based around a form of rabies. A bad attempt at a scary movie.
review by . April 23, 2009
Quarantine is a creepy remake of the Spanish film REC (which is far superior). A news reporter and her camera man are shooting a story about a firefighting crew. One night the crew receives an emergency call to a apartment complex. What they inside will lead to a night of horror as they find out that the building has been pit under a mandatory quarantine, leaving the people inside to deal with whatever the government authorities do not want to leave the building. Inside the news reporter, her cameraman …
review by . May 08, 2009
A fire crew, reporter and camera man get locked in an apartment building where the residents have a rabies-style zombie disease spreading on the inside. The building is under quarantine by CDC, and one-by-one everybody dies (about ¬†20 people)?  I can imagine [REC] is a far superior film, but I still enjoyed this, hunkered down on the sofa tending a cold. The cast do a pretty good job with the material, and the pace is well-maintained up until the last 20 minutes (more so than The Blair …
About the reviewer
Kevin Sellers ()
Just another hack hacking away. You know my name by now, I hope, having made it this far. Other facts? I stand between 6'7" and 6'8", I smoke (but not for much longer), and I am an avid fan of most entertainment … more
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About this movie


Quarantine is a realistic horror film released in 2008, directed by John Erick Dowdle and written with his brother Drew Dowdle. The film is shot entirely from the perspective of one man's camera as he and a news reporter (the two played by Steve Harris and Jennifer Carpenter, respectively) shadow a unit of firefighters as they answer a call for assistance that turns into a terrifying experience for everyone involved. Also featuring Jay Hernandez and Greg Germann.

It is a remake of the Spanish Horror film titled "REC" which was released in 2007; which had achieved major box-office acclaim all over Europe. Jennifer Carpenter plays the lead role in place of Manuela Velasco. Part of the "Americanization" of Horror films. 
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Director: John Erick Dowdle
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 10th 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 89 Mins.
Studio: Vertigo Entertainment
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