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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan Poe April 12, 2024

Horror remake delivers scares

Film: Quarantine

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Producers: Sergio Aguero, Clint Culpepper, Doug Davison

Writer: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle

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Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez

Runtime: 89 minutes

Rating: R

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“Quarantine” is a very enjoyable film that seems to want to put a new spin on an old genre. Although it hasn’t necessarily been advertised as a zombie film, it pretty much is. It takes the genre in a different direction by using the “found footage” route, which makes a film look as if it were shot by amateurs. But for all the changes “Quarantine” makes, it still owes quite a bit to its predecessors, yet remains a fun and thrilling ride that can hold its own.

Newswoman Angela Vidal (Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott Percival (Harris) are doing filming story on firefighters of Los Angeles. They meet up with firefighters George Fletcher (Johnathon Schaech) and Jake (Hernandez). Soon after the alarm is raised, and they go dashing off to an apartment building, where tenants are complaining about screams coming from the second floor. Once there, they find an old, disoriented woman with foam dripping from her mouth and a vacant expression. As they approach her, she pounces on one of them, tearing at his throat, infecting him with a strange disease. Soon after, the building is quarantined by the Centers for Disease Control and the number of infected increases rapidly. With no escape possible the remaining survivors must fight for their lives.

There’s a real sense of danger in “Quarantine.” I don’t recall one scene where the scare delivered wasn’t genuine. Eventually, the action begins to look as if you’re watching a friend play “House of the Dead” at an arcade. The monsters pop up, and they either get destroyed or another member of the survival party has been lost. The killing, running, screaming and terror builds up to a climax that delivers a grin-inducing and thrilling homage to the finale of “The Silence of the Lambs,” which proves to be effective in its own right.

The acting does what it’s supposed to, although Carpenter is really quite effective in her role as Vidal. In the beginning she is sweet, perhaps even coquettish, yet professional. By the end she’s a mess, portraying her hysteria quite nicely. Harris, Schaech and Hernandez are all capable in their respective roles. There’s really only so much one can bring to a role which requires you to run around and act scared. No one falls behind or flies ahead of what is expected of them.

Let’s face it though, the main reason we go to these movies is the gore. The violence work, especially considering the man who suffers a serious compound fracture. His leg is torn almost entirely off and then we see him walk on it when he becomes infected. The bone is clearly visible and should induce a squirm to anyone watching.

Those who experienced nausea during “The Blair Witch Project” or “Cloverfield” may want to sit this one out. The camera is truly all over the place, although it does substantially heighten the film’s ability to scare. Had “Quarantine” been shot like a normal horror film it would have lost a considerable amount of terror.

While most of the recent horror remakes have been complete duds (“Prom Night,” anyone?), I feel “Quarantine” is the exception. What makes most remakes so bad is they don’t always take into account what made the original good. Hollywood will usually take all the subtlety out of it and just inject trite and hackneyed scenarios. They’re often just a sorry excuse to make a quick dollar at the box office. “Quarantine” certainly isn’t the second coming when it comes to horror films, but it’s a nice break considering the recent studio output.

“Quarantine” is a lot of fun. It’s really as simple as that. The scares provided are visceral and jolt-inducing and the acting does the best it can. Those who are sick of the same old thrillers should definitely give this one a shot. This latest installment in horror cinéma vérité proves to be a worthy addition.

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