A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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.
Talk to your kids 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,
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?
- In theaters: October 10, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: February 17, 2009
- Cast: Jay Hernandez, Jennifer Carpenter, Johnathon Schaech
- Director: John Erick Dowdle
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violent and disturbing content, terror and language.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.