I haven’t even reviewed REC or Quarantine yet, and here I am writing about its much lesser-known sequel, Quarantine 2. Why? Because it’s much lesser-known, I suppose – and even bad sequels deserve a bit of love sometimes, if they have a half-decent idea behind them.
To be fair to Quarantine 2, it does have that. First of all – a zombie attack on a flight? Come on. You know you want it. We saw it later in World War Z, even if only briefly, and it was one of the more exciting scenes in an otherwise fairly slow-paced movie that fans of the book largely deride. Admittedly, as you might realise from the title, you don’t get a full movie of zombie japes on a plane (sorry; it was the closest rhyme I could get) but it’s still a pretty cool way to start.
The other reason I say it has a half-decent idea behind it is because it’s not really a traditional sequel; it doesn’t follow chronologically after Quarantine. Instead, the timelines run concurrently. This movie refers to the events of the first one as they appear on the news. This is neater and a bit more interesting than trying to come up with some warped, contrived way of extending the events of the first story – which should not be read as a criticism of REC’s sequels. It’s just that Quarantine is different to REC in a fairly crucial way, and because of that it doesn’t particularly lend itself to going any further.
I always hate to spoil, so if you haven’t seen them I’ll just say that Quarantine’s backbone is pseudo-scientific, whereas REC’s is pseudo-religious. This is relevant because… er. Reasons.
Anyway – the fact that Quarantine 2 runs at the same time as the first movie does have a downside, too, and this is that it forces them to mirror one another too closely in places. The characters experience government protocol in very similar ways, which is especially noticeble if you watch both movies within a reasonable amount of time; because it’s set on the same day, the government has had no time to improve or alter their approach, which would make it less repetitive.
Really, this is a lot of words about a lot of nothing. In short, it’s just an enjoyably shitty movie, but there are some positives.
The protagonist Jenny is female, not sexualised, and – in my opinion, contrary to what other critics have said – pretty well-developed for a horror movie. Imagine! Mercedes Masohn did a great job of making her likeable and easy to warm to. Noree Victoria’s army doctor Shilah is strong backup. Other characters are more cookie-cutter, which is maybe what other critics disliked; there’s the crazy cat lady, the over-aggressive alpha male, the smart kid, the businessman who just wants to get to his interview and only cares about his laptop…
The story is predictable, particularly if you have seen Quarantine, but pretty satisfying. I should stress that you don’t actually need to have seen Quarantine to understand, but… it is much better, so if you’re after a zombie movie to watch then hunt that (or REC) down instead.
That’s the thing with this film. If it was a stand-alone movie I’d probably applaud it much harder. It’s entertaining enough for a lazy afternoon. It just suffers somewhat because it doesn’t match up to the first one. But nothing ever does, does it?