Considering how low-budget the original REC was, it is difficult to excuse Quarantine 2: Terminal’s limitations owing to a lack of funds. Even the remake itself, Quarantine, lacking as it did an all-star cast and million dollar effects, managed to build tension with expert efficiency, making the most of what it had to nail-biting effect.
Whereas the original Spanish horror spawned a chilling and acclaimed sequel, Quarantine’s second instalment appears to have gone straight to DVD. Opening with two airplane attendants preparing for a routine flight, Quarantine 2 sees a second outbreak of the mutant virus aboard a passenger plane, its relation to the apartment block in LA where the outbreak began not immediately evident.
Forced to land when one of the passengers exhibits rabies-like symptoms, the cabin crew and those on board find themselves quarantined at the host airport in Las Vegas. As the infection spreads through the the remaining passengers, self-appointed group leader Jenny must unite the survivors if they are to escape their quarantined confines.
Quarantine 2: Terminal is not a bad movie, it boasts a small number of effective scares and successfully furthers the ongoing story with the inclusion of the man responsible for the initial experiments. However, while it might be far from redundant, it nevertheless pales in comparison with what came before.
The sequel drops the handheld component, and with it the tension such a format ultimately brings. Lacking the emotional grounding brought to the original by Jennifer Carpenter’s heroin, the film lags as two dimensional characters await their turn to die, the majority disappearing with a inconsequential air of despondence. Characters utter things like, “have you ever heard of terrorism?” and “don’t go to work while you’re sick”, without any hint of irony, all the while doggedly pursuing every tired genre cliche achievable in one hour and twenty three minutes.
The biggest fault, however, is that for large chunks of its running time the film simply isn’t scary. Whatever you want to call the virus (human rabies/rage/zombie), the symptomatology is all too familiar to be effective without some sort of innovative twist. Without the shaky-cam format, the audience is privy to everything, making each transformation and subsequent scare about as predictable as which character will meet their end next. The infected lack the frenzy of the REC series and original American remake; at one point a rabid passenger steadies himself on a handrail. As you do when starved of human brains.
Nevertheless, Quarantine 2: Terminal was not the travesty I was expecting. Finally building trace amounts of tension (although it takes an hour and twenty minutes to do so), the film even manages to end on a relative high. While John Pogue’s film might pale in comparison to what came before (and sister sequel REC 2, for that matter), it is nevertheless a sturdy if forgettable continuation of the saga. A find on DVD, Quarantine 2: Terminal is a credit to the direct-to-DVD format.