I wasn’t one of those who hated QUARANTINE. Sure, Dexter’s twitchy sister wasn’t as plucky and likable as REC’s Manuela Velasco, but for the most part, I don’t know why there was such an uproar about the remake and such a dislike for it other than the remake was pretty damn pointless, serving only those who refuse to watch “films they gotta read”. Now, having seen REC and REC2, I definitely prefer those films to their American counterparts since the two original films fit together so seamlessly and the story of the first is expanded in such an ingenious way in the sequel. Arguably, REC2 is one of the few films which successfully improves upon the original (but that is a discussion for another day).
QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL is just what you’d expect from a direct to VOD sequel of a remake. It’s got lesser known actors, the effects are less effective, and the plot is severely lacking in both originality and depth. Most of the charm of the first is either carbon copied or missed altogether. Whereas REC2 picked up immediately after REC ended, QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL is a completely different story. For the most part, QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL is QUARANTINE in an airport. Any story advancement that occurred between REC to REC2 doesn’t happen in this sequel. Instead of building upon the first, QUARANTINE 2 starts over again. In other words, it’s redundant.
Though the contrivance of the first person POV shot film is somewhat overused these days, it is an integral part of the REC series and was used in QUARANTINE as well. In the sequel, though, the first person POV is dropped and shot in a more conventional manner. Because of this, QUARANTINE 2 plays more like a sequel to 28 DAYS LATER than the original film. It’s just another infection film where a bunch of people are trapped in one location with blood spewing zombies are running about.
Lack of POV camera and redundancy aside, QUARANTINE 2 is not unwatchable. The film tries to play a game of “who’s got the plague” at the beginning as passengers enter the plane; some sniffling, some sneezing, some suffering from ailments like strokes and some are just drunk. Like SNAKES ON A PLANE, every plane passenger cliché is used, but this is a fun sequence. Though the secret twist is pretty evident from the beginning, the film gives it the old college try to keep us guessing who brought the plague on board, how they did it, and why. Though the acceptance of the existence of a plague and the logic that it is spread through bites and contact with fluids seems a bit rushed, once the infected start swarming, it gets kind of fun watching these annoying passengers getting picked off one by one. The effects are somewhat shoddy and a lot of the crisp, funhouse thrills and chills from RECs and QUARANTINE seem to move at a much more lumbering speed here. The final sequence is also somewhat effective as a pair of survivors try to make their way to freedom in a cramped tunnel with only night vision goggles to guide them. Only when the film falls back on its roots and shows us a first person POV in this scene do the scares feel a bit more genuine.
REC2 pretty much distanced itself from QUARANTINE by introducing religious elements that are never touched upon in the American version, so though I’ve compared the two film series throughout this review, one can look at these two series as completely separate entities. I didn’t expect another carbon copy Americanized version of REC2, but I was hoping for more than a rehash of QUARANTINE set in a different locale. Though vastly inferior to the REC series and the original QUARANTINE, QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL has a few frightful moments and reminded me just enough of REC to satiate my hunger until REC: APOCALIPSIS and REC: GENESIS are released later this year.