A faithful adaptation of the 2007 Spanish film REC, QUARANTINE chronicles the outbreak of a rabies-like disease in a Los Angeles apartment building and the struggle of the unaffected residents to stay alive after the authorities trap them inside in an effort to contain it. Equal parts BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and 28 DAYS LATER, the film is presented through the eye of a video camera, putting the audience in the middle of the action and creating a heightened level of intensity and realism. Television reporter Angela (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman, Scott (Steve Harris), are covering the goings-on at a firehouse for a program about night shift workers. As she clowns around with two flirty firemen (Jonathan Schaech and Jay Hernandez), an alarm sounds, and a truck is dispatched–with Angela and Scott on board—to an apartment building where an old woman has seemingly lost her mind. The woman bites one of the firemen and is soon killed, but when more tenants turn up with the same disorder, it’s clear that a chain reaction is occurring. Unfortunately for Angela and the rest of the uninfected residents, the authorities have quarantined the building—but she and Scott continue to document the tragic and terrifying events inside the building as those inside are one by one transformed into bloodthirsty monsters.
Director John Eric Dowdle, whose film THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES also used a pseudo-documentary approach in detailing the crimes of a serial killer, creates a sustained level of chaos and fear that will have all but the most seasoned horror fan cowering in the corner. Though the shaky camerawork may be difficult to take for those prone to motion sickness, it–along with a complete absence of music–gives the film a startling realism and immediacy to accompany its stomach-churning descent into full-on hopelessness and dread.