Review: Quarantine 2: Terminal

Quarantine 2: Terminal is the best possible retread of a remake it could have been.

Stay with me now -- the original [REC] was a brilliantly constructed found-footage horror film that took place entirely in a Barcelona apartment building as hyper-rabid neighbors began turning on one another. There was a sequel, [REC] 2, and a remake, Quarantine, which stuck well to the blueprints of the original and basically left success unmessed with. This sequel is not a remake of that sequel, though it decides to similarly expand on the first film’s mythos. The found-footage point of view and any familiar characters have been excised in favor of a relatively crafty repeat of the first film’s contagious claustrophobia.

This time, we’re trapped on a red-eye flight leaving LAX as the infection proceeds to spread among the stock roster of pets and passengers (the nice flight attendant, a potential love interest, the obnoxious guy, the old couple, the bratty kid, the even more obnoxious guy, the handy army medic heading home, and so on) before an emergency landing forces the action to move into a swiftly quarantined cargo hanger.

The production has the look and feel of a ‘90s NBC miniseries (the virus-on-a-plane antics of Pandora’s Clock specifically come to mind) crossbred with the bloodier fare that populates Syfy’s schedule every Saturday night, although the ensemble work here is a bit better than that comparison might suggest. The screenplay by director John Pogue is resourceful enough given the confined action (ex: making one of your passengers a golfer is excuse enough to have golf clubs around as a potential weapon), and while his introduction of infrared goggles is a transparent effort to duplicate [REC]/Quarantine’s night-vision climax, few other moments feel as beholden to this film’s predecessor(s). In fact, he even pulls off one nasty bit of business involving a needle and an eye that is perfectly squirm-inducing in a way that neither of those films even tried to be.

At the risk of damning with faint praise, Quarantine 2: Terminal is about as good as something clearly destined to be a direct-to-video sequel can be: a bit of the cheap side, hardly original, but rarely lazy, as much of its in-name-only brethren.

Quarantine 2: Terminal has been given a very modest theatrical release -- most likely fulfilling some sort of contractual obligation -- but is apparently already available on demand through some cable providers and on the Playstation Network.

Grade: C