I have to say, I loved the Spanish horror hits [REC] and its sequel [REC] 2. The two films were a different breed of a zombie movie that channeled extreme claustrophobia, a different take on the zombie horror mythos and intense horror sequences that used the first-person POV style cinematography. It was remade in America as the blockbuster hit “Quarantine” which won heavily in the box-office (it was only after "Quarantine" that [REC] was officially released in the U.S.). Seeing as the remake was a success and it was a decent one (copies from [REC] shot per shot) despite some alterations to the original script, I was surprised that its sequel “Quarantine 2: Terminal” is a low budget outing and is not a direct remake of [REC] 2 as writer-director John Pogue takes its concept to a different direction and dispenses of the first-person cinematography that “Quarantine” had used. Pogue lacks a substantial budget and star power, but thankfully he knows how to render a low-budget horror movie just by keeping things simple and allow its intensity and the blood and gore to generate the entertainment.
Flight attendants Jenny (Mercedes Masohn) and Paula (Bre Blair) is on routine flight from LAX with everything going smoothly, as the two pretty flight attendants oversee the passengers’ needs that includes a vacationing couple, a 12 year old flying alone and a military medic on furlough. But when an obese passenger becomes unexpectedly feral and dangerous, the flight is forced to make an emergency landing. On the ground, the panic and desperation sets in with the small group of passengers, as the government has quarantined them in the terminal due to the outbreak of an unknown virus that had previously attacked an LA apartment complex is now believed to be in the airport. The group is now forced to fight as the infected begin to assault the uninfected led by Jenny, with George (Mattie Liptak), Ed (Ignaccio Serrichio) and Henry (Josh Cooke) caught in the middle while they try to find a way out.
“Quarantine 2” is pretty light in story and I have to admit that the film’s plot is filled with clichés. I am a little tired of the virus causing zombie infection thing (I loved the [REC] series since it left this cliché), and the characters in the film are mild caricatures of those you may find in such films. But I guess it was up to Pogue to try and find creative ways to get past the weaknesses of its script, and to keep everything simple. As I’ve said, this is no [REC] 2 as this film tries to do a different approach. It no longer tries to emulate a realistic feel with the use of a first-person view and rather goes to the blueprint of a conventional horror film.
This means, Pogue shoots the film in an enclosed space. The film is set during the events of “Quarantine”, and while the first movie was set in an apartment building, this time, it is set in a plane, a terminal, the baggage container and even a catering truck. Pogue makes good use of what he has, and honestly, he makes use of the confined spaces to his advantage. He keeps the scenes tight and simple, while the viral zombies mount their attack, infecting the passengers one by one. Pogue tries to make the cause of the virus a mystery as he tries to add some intricacies to its plot. It wasn’t anything very inspired, but it sure made the film feel more like a credible movie. Tension mounts as our group stumbles, fight among themselves, and then get assaulted by the fast-moving zombies, all to promote horror and tension. Pogue does succeed, as he uses the environment to his advantage. While the writing was pretty palpable, I felt that it really wasn’t the intentions of the filmmaker to be too ambitious with the plot.
I cannot really complain about a low-budget movie, so I rather ignored the weaknesses of its script. Pogue does do a good job for a first-time director as he lets the intensity, the blood-letting and the gore speak for the movie itself. He keeps the tension running and while the performances weren’t exactly perfect, it was decent for this type of horror movie. Jenny is the heroine of the film, and she is played credibly by Masohn. I rather thought that several of the characters were obviously mere fodder for a body count, but I liked the way Pogue timed their demise. While Pogue did eliminate the shaky camera gimmick, the last act felt like a homage to the original. He made use of those moments credibly and didn’t feel forced at all.
“Quarantine 2: Terminal” is not going to be breaking new ground, but it was an entertaining horror feature that is engaging enough for a minor film of its budget. The film carefully manipulates the scare spots, and there were plenty of jolts and scares to keep me interested. It can be quite creepy on its own right, and there is the promise of a third “Quarantine” movie. Despite its weaknesses and simple execution, “Quarantine 2” is a refreshing film away from all the zomedies that have plagued the horror genre. Rabid red-eyed people-eaters…heck yeah!
Light Recommendation to Horror Fans and a RENTAL to everybody else [3- Out of 5 Stars]