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Quarantine 2: Terminal (John Pogue, 2011)

Quarantine 2: Terminal, the sequel to the English-language remake of Spanish creature feature [Rec], charts its own course entirely. While [Rec] 2 picked up immediately after its predecessor left off, restricting the action to the same building that has served as the franchise’s key locale, the Quarantine sequel, as the subtitle Terminal implies, follows a horrific infection that turns its victims into ultra-aggressive maniacs as it goes airborne. Terminal’s opening moments follow a flight crew and passengers as they board a plane at LAX. Meanwhile, news reports hint at the chaos that transpired in the first film. The fleeing passengers, though flying away from that site, are anything but safe. Before long, the infection breaks out on the plane, forcing a premature landing. Once on ground, the cast is still left in harm’s way as it turns out that the entire airport terminal they have landed in has been placed under quarantine by a government force. 

What will most immediately strike viewers of the series is that Quarantine 2: Terminal largely eschews the handheld, first-person camerawork of the other [Rec] films to date. Though the contrivance of explaining why a camera would be recording action on a plane is admittedly avoided, the more conventional filmmaking is probably to blame for making this the least scary entry of the series to date. Director Pogue attempts to compensate for this change in direction by increasing both the complexity of the plotting and film’s overall scale. He is only partially successful, however. The body count is higher this time out and the back story behind the virus extends somewhat here (in a direction that might be as unsatisfactory for some viewers as [Rec] 2’s invocation of the supernatural), but there is no moment here as brilliant as the one in [Rec], in which a character was bludgeoned to death by the handheld camera. Indeed, it is telling that one of the scariest sequences in Terminal involves a pair of night-vision goggles. This scene alone returns the film’s style to the claustrophobic first-person perspective that has distinguished the series.  

Still, that not is to suggest that Quarantine 2: Terminal is a bust. Judged on its own terms, the movie is a better than average, if somewhat routine, horror effort. Gore is less important here than paranoia, and tension largely arises from guessing which of the cast will be next to succumb to the disease or to be eaten by a zombie-like infected. This sort of thing might be less than the genre is capable of, but it is handled well enough by first-time director Pogue. For those willing to put up with this rehash’s inherent unoriginality, the fast-paced Quarantine 2: Terminal will deliver a reasonable number of scares.




Jeremy Heilman