Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)

Although Quarantine was a minor hit it has largely been forgotten due to the fact that it was pretty much a shot-by-shot remake of the Spanish movie [REC]Where the original had encouraged improvising and had a number of techniques employed by the directors in order to illicit realistic responses from the cast, Quarantine mostly stuck to what was presented on-screen in the original.  There were a few changes just so director John Erick Dowdle could get a screenwriting credit, but for the most part it is the same movie.  [REC] was not available in the United States when Quarantine was released but, since it became available soon after as well as at the time of [REC] 2, Quarantine became pretty much unnecessary to watch.  

After the first movie is where the two diverge.  The [REC] series went on to have four films, generally telling the story of how the virus was linked to demonic possession and how the Catholic Church accidentally let it get out while experimenting on possessed children to find a cure.  The source of the infection turned out to be a parasitic creature that could pass from host to host, making it hard to capture or destroy.  Most of this was revealed in [REC] 2 when a SWAT team invades the apartment building, with a priest posing as a health official in tow, and it is revealed what happened to Angela Vidal after being dragged away into the dark. 

Quarantine 2: Terminal ties in with its predecessor in a number of ways, though completely abandons the found footage aspect of the original, something the original series didn't do until the third movie.  Also, in Quarantine, rather than the Vatican looking to cure possession it is revealed that the virus is a weaponized version of rabies created by a doomsday cult that is trying to kill off most of humanity.  Whoever was living in the top floor apartment was working on ways of making members of the cult immune once the virus made its way out into the public. 

Rather than following the same trek as [REC] writer/director John Pogue reveals what happens to the apartment building in news reports - it is destroyed by the CDC to contain the virus - and moves the story to a plane flying out of Los Angeles.  The focus is initially on two flight attendants - Jenny (Mercedes Mason) and Paula (Bre Blair) - on a routine red-eye flight.  When one of the passengers (George Back) starts showing signs of the virus and attacks Paula the plane is forced to make an emergency landing.

Initially unable to get clearance for a gate the pilots go to the nearest one and the crew and passengers are assisted by baggage handler Ed (Ignacio Serricchio) to find a way through the empty terminal.  They soon find themselves locked in and under quarantine, with Jenny in charge as the passengers become more demanding and unruly.  As the night progresses and others fall victim to the virus, George (Mattie Liptak), a 12-year-old flying solo, begins to suspect that the otherwise model passenger Henry (Josh Cooke) may know more about the virus than he's telling. 

I do like that the sequel was not made as another found footage movie.  I know most people don't even know there was a sequel, but if they did they probably figured it wouldn't be too different from the first one.  In a lot of ways that is correct, and it doesn't help that the poster art is horrible, with Mercedes Mason's face heavily distorted and using the green night-vision camera effect to connect it with the first film.  It is misleading as, while they do use a FLIR camera toward the end, it is quite different than the green-tinted images in the first.

Despite the changes - and an all-too-predictable resolution dealing with the cult from the first one - this is a still a by-the-books zombie survival movie.  They may roar, have rabies and adrenaline-fueled strength, but it still follow the pattern of the majority of the cast running from place to place, trying to escape and ultimately getting picked off one by one.  John Pogue may have changed the location and filming style but he didn't change much else, and it doesn't help the characters are so devoid of anything that would make one care about what happens.  That includes Jenny and George, who eventually become the core protagonists of the film. 

That leaves another unremarkable movie, not too dissimilar from Quarantine except for the change in location.  It is watchable, but there are no particular scenes that stand out or really anything particularly cheesy or bad that helps it stand apart.  It'll make 90 minutes go by rather quickly, but otherwise, like its predecessor, it really doesn't serve any purpose.

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)
Time: 86 minutes
Starring: Mercedes Mason, Mattie Liptak, Josh Brooke
Director: John Pogue



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