• Review Date: October 14, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Grim, grisly horror film only for mature viewers.
  • Review Date: October 14, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 89 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Extensive depiction of extreme circumstances of horror as the dwindling survivors in a quarantined apartment building are attacked by the victims of the virus; the outside world not only fails to offer help but actively shoots and attacks any of the people desperately trying to get out. Mention of "doomsday cults" and "nuclear, biological, and chemical" attacks.

Positive role models

A mixed bag; the heroes are good role models, but most of the others are not.


Near-constant, unrelenting horror violence, gore, and tension. The victims of a genetically engineered virus become aggressive, biting and attacking anyone in their path; there are also shootings, fatal falls, bludgeoning, and beatings. The film's central conceit that all the action is being filmed by a news crew leads to a scene in which an infected berserker is literally beaten to death with the camera. Animals are seen attacking humans; animals are seen eviscerated. Wounds and injuries are depicted with grim realism.


Some sexual innuendo and implied off-screen nudity; a firefighter bets he can "bang" a reporter before the end of the night.


Relatively infrequent strong language includes "damn," "s--t," "f--k," and more.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character is clearly drunk; another character offers his Vicodin stash to help a veterinarian try to aid injured characters.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this horror movie is absolutely terrifying, full of gore and terror and violence. Grisly wounds are shown in great detail, and tension builds to a fever pitch. The victims -- hungry, angry, mindless zombie-like creatures -- are the stuff that nightmares are made of. Parents should also know that the film's style -- all of the action is seen through the lens of a single news camera as it follows a group of firefighters on a "routine" call -- makes for an upsetting, frenetic, and intense viewing experience. There's also some swearing and sexual innuendo.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In Los Angeles, a reporter and cameraman for a late-night cable program called Night Shift are shadowing a group of firefighters during their evening at the firehouse. Dispatched on a call, the TV crew and firefighters soon find themselves locked in an apartment building, where a report of an injured woman soon becomes a nightmare: A super-virulent form of rabies begins leaping from the injured woman to other residents of the building and attacking the remaining uninfected survivors. Trapped between blood-hungry monsters on the inside and the threat of death from the outside, will our heroes survive?

Is it any good?


A virtual shot-for shot remake of the Spanish horror film [REC], QUARANTINE is a brutal, terrifying, and wrenchingly tense horror film. Some might say that horror films are pretty much the same, but the fact is that there are well-made examples of the genre and badly made examples of the genre, and Quarantine delivers superbly constructed, remarkably effective scares. The "camera's-eye view" technique constantly plunges viewers into the thick of things and also means that there's always some fresh terror ready to be dragged into view with a simple turn of the camera.

While the characters aren't much more than generic caricatures -- the plucky reporter (Jennifer Carpenter), the stalwart cameraman (Steve Harris), the tough fireman (Jay Hernandez), the conveniently well-informed veterinarian (Gregg Germann), and more -- but the real appeal of Quarantine is the film's concept and its execution, which is superbly handled and never flinches from going for the jugular with scares and gore. Quarantine is far smarter than it looks -- for example, when the outside word cuts off power to the building, it not only heightens the tension but also creates a legitimate reason for Harris' character to keep carrying the camera (which has a light on top) around as the infected victims attack. Quarantine plays like a feature-length version of the initial outbreak that most modern zombie films gloss over in their first five minutes. If you're a horror fan, it's just your kind of nightmare; if you're not a horror fan, it's not a film you'll enjoy or appreciate.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why zombie-style films are so popular. What anxieties do they speak to?

  • How have modern "zombie" movies changed from the original examples of the genre?

  • Also, do you think the movie's single-camera technique makes the film

  • more frightening, or is it a gimmick designed to cover up a weak,

  • familiar plot?

  • Families can also discuss the film's scenario -- what law enforcement

  • and medical procedures are in place in the event of a biological

  • emergency? Would they be effective?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 10, 2008
DVD release date:February 17, 2009
Cast:Jay Hernandez, Jennifer Carpenter, Johnathon Schaech
Director:John Erick Dowdle
Studio:Screen Gems
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:bloody violent and disturbing content, terror and language.

This review of Quarantine was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byEmilyB123 October 1, 2010
This was a good movie if you don't mind seeing a lot of blood and gore. The bloody images didn't really disturb me either. I think that mature teens will be able to get through the movie but people who can't handle gore need to skip this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bywonder dove April 6, 2013

Not as I hoped...

This film wasn't near as good as I'd hoped from the reviews. I'm a huge horror buff, but this one wasn't very exciting. Just a lot of people in groups freaking out during the first half. I don't like zombie movies that much, so that may have been the main factor. The camera is shaky throughout the whole movie, which eventually got annoying. There are very dark scenes with lots of action, so it's hard to make out what's going on in some situations. It was very predictable too, felt like a late night made-for-TV reality show or something. It's not something I'd watch again, but two stars for the idea and for the realistic acting. Violence is very very very strong and gory. Language is strong with many "f" words and more. Sexual content is mild with one crude remark and some mild innuendo. Wouldn't let teens under 15 see this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byNeonKennedy February 3, 2012

Wonderfully scary and convincing.

Quarantine is a great triumph for the found-footage genre. It combines a gritty environment with good actors and an engaging environment. If you and your older kids love to get scared they will love this.


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