Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #338
Number of Views: One
Release Date: June 17, 2011
Sub-Genre: Zombie Horror
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 89 minutes
Director: John Pogue
Producers: Sergio Agüero, Marc Brienstock, Rui Costa Reis, Doug Davison, Richard Goldberg, Eliad Josephson, Roy Lee, William B. Steakley
Screenplay: John Pogue
Special Effects: Toby Sells, Jonathan Thornton, Robert Hall
Visual Effects: Michael D. Leone
Cinematography: Matthew Irving
Editing: William Yeh
Studios: Third Street Pictures, RCR Media Group, Stage 6 Films, Vertigo Entertainment, Andale Pictures
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Stars: Mercedes Mason, Josh Cooke, Mattie Liptak, Ignacio Serricchio, Noree Victoria, Bre Blair, Lamar Stewart, George Back, Phillip DeVona, Julie Gribble, Erin Aine Smith, Lynn Cole, Tom Thon, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Tyler Kunkle, John Curran, Andrew Benator
Suggested Audio Candy
Carlos Ann “Vudu”
Back in 2007 Spanish directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza gifted horror lovers with an indisputable modern horror classic in the form of [REC]. It told its grim tale from within a quarantined apartment building which played host for a particularly malevolent strain of sickness which transformed all exposed into rampaging zombies. Not the shuffling, dead between the ears kind; these shared more in common with the marauding mutants from Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and moved with just the same fleetness of foot and pent-up rage. Not only did it leave its impression on horror audiences worldwide, but it also lit the fuse for an entire series and a reasonably consistent one at that. Currently its fourth installment Apocalypse is doing the rounds and it doesn’t appear to be losing momentum either.
European cinema doesn’t necessarily travel well across the Atlantic thus, in 2008, John Erick Dowdle gave Western audiences their own localized version, renaming it Quarantine. It performed reasonably well at the box office but, whilst not becoming lost in translation, it brought nothing fresh to the table either. If you haven’t had the exclusive pleasure of the Spanish delicacy or its American cousin then you can’t go wrong with either film although personally I found it more effectual in its native tongue. [REC] 2 was no slouch either, taking the series in an opposing direction, whilst remaining true to the spirit of its predecessor. In the states however, it was now considered fair game thus John Pogue’s successor marches to the beat of its own drum and any enduring tethers are soundly cut.
This time we are freed from the constrictive confines of that Los Angeles apartment building and placed lovingly in the one place with even less leg room, a passenger flight bound for New York. To be fair, this is only where the sickness manifests and flight time barely equates to one-third of the running time. However, if the passengers suspect that customs will present their only hold-up then they may as well remain seated as the entire airport is on environmental lock-down and their passage forth consists of a darkened terminal and a few unattractive littered crawlspaces. Suddenly taking the Greyhound seems a far more attractive idea.
I wish to make it clear from the offset that this is not, as commonly regarded, a movie without merit. Its reward may be modest, especially given the endless opportunity provided by its location, but you’re pretty much guaranteed of a good time should you choose to fly with Pogue and pals. Should a film fulfill its baseline pre-requisite for entertainment then I consider it only fair to pull any punches sparingly. However, when said piece of celluloid doesn’t come good on its potential, that’s entirely another matter and it becomes time to reapply that gumshield. I have no intention of consigning Quarantine 2: Terminal to the canvas a TKO; instead I wish to beat it on points and let it reflect on why it didn’t take flight. Bloody nose it is then.
First blow is just to find my reach. The opening act introduces us to our heroine, flight associates and travelling cattle alike and it is here where we forms our bonds…in theory. A stilted script complete with cliché unbounded and a deeply uninspired flight plan hurt the experience massively. We’re talking of the sparring couple, irate and mean-spirited businessman whose appointments aren’t going to see to themselves, the brooding teenager complete with hood and iPod shuffle brimming with Eminem, paralyzed pensioner plagued by a particularly pitiless progression of Parkinson’s, potential love interest, and of course Heavy-D’s caucasian cousin. More on our chubby friend; it’s because of his excess finger fat that our vermin are presented with their first bite.
I’ve toyed with my opponent enough now as its most unforgivable indiscretion is that it fails to maximize the vast potential for terror at its disposal. Sure it’s fairly tense but you never feel as helpless or exposed as [REC] left you feeling. Whether that is because of the stock characters or less-than-effective use of such a shut-off locale is by the by as the bottom line is that it feels unwilling or unable to fill its numerous dark recesses with a palpable enough sense of dread to land on the runway and instead veers off into black clouds. Outlandish grue wasn’t deemed necessary but, on account of these ailments, it would have acted as sweetener. At times it resembles little more than superior cable fodder and, for a movie which grew from such fruitful harvest, that’s a missed trick in Keeper’s book.
Quarantine 2: Terminal is the epitome of punch drunk. It shows that it has the chin for the fight but ultimately it’s just a little too weak at the knees to sustain enough inflicted damage. Its crew all clearly play their part but it’s the fact that nobody goes that extra mile that leaves vague disappointment in its wake. On this evidence, it is going to take a Herculean effort to steer the floundering series’ fortunes back on track but, should it be shared with beer and buddies, then you’ll be too inebriated by the time the duty-free trolley trundles past to care anyhoots. Keeper has flown Stateside four times in the past twelve months and it is with a heavy heart that I confess that there’s little in this terminal to suggest I misplace my passport.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 6/10
Grue Factor: 2/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: While the infected are evidently unremitting with their acts of treachery, it fritters the chance to truly break loose and, in this respect, it ignores its target audience. With a little more verve and shred, things could have been entirely different and some of the glaring cracks in the emulsion could have been papered over. However, there are still ample instances of schlock to justify a view and, next time you spot a rat in your kitchen, you may be hesitant to reach for that wheel of cheese.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™