Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)

John Pogue

Mattie Liptak - George
Mercedes Masohn - Jenny
Josh Cooke - Henry
Noree Victoria - Shilah
Ignacio Sericchio - Ed Ramirez
George Beck - Ralph Bundt
Bre Blair - Paula
Andrew Benator - Willsy

Genre - Horror/Virus/Zombies

Running Time - 89 Minutes

Flight attendants Jenny (Mercedes Masohn) and Paula (Bre Blair) work a late night shift on a flight going from Los Angeles to Kansas City. One passenger named Ralph (George Beck) is bitten by a hamster carried by another passenger (Josh Cooke), turning him from a happy guy to a violent flesh-eater in minutes. As some of the passengers try to calm Ralph down, he bites Paula in the face, injuring her badly. With the flight now a dangerous situation, the pilot is forced to make an emergency landing in order to remove Ralph before he harms anyone else.

When the plane lands, the passengers and crew realize that they're quarantined within a small terminal, confused as to why they're in that situation. As they figure out ways to exit the terminal to seek help, they learn that the infection is spreading, turning other passengers and crew into rabid victims of the virus.

2008's QUARANTINE was an American remake of 2007's Spanish horror film [REC] - I guess for those who are afraid of foreign films and/or don't want to read subtitles during their movie watching. While not as good as [REC], QUARANTINE was still a pretty decent remake that managed to capture much of its source material well. Unbeknownst to me, a sequel was released in 2011 that went direct to DVD, creating a new story while connecting itself somewhat to the events of the first film. QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL was pretty much filling space in my Netflix Instant Queue for as long as I can remember, until recently when the whole Ebola scare made me want to check it out. And surprisingly, QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL isn't that bad of a film! Unfortunately, it's nothing you'll really remember a day after you watch it.

Good Things: I think the biggest positive I could give the film is that it doesn't remake 2009's [REC] 2 at all. While QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL isn't as good of a movie as [REC] 2, at least I can respect and admire the filmmakers for wanting to take their own path and create a new story that in no way resembled its Spanish counterpart. I got something totally different from both films, which was a refreshing experience. And while QUARANTINE 2 was a total cash-in on the success of the first film, it still managed to connect itself to the first film in a way that I could believe they belong within the same universe.

I also enjoyed the first half of the film. The first act within the airplane as the virus begins to infect people is a lot of fun, filled with some nice tension and suspense that I was not expecting. While not completely original, I still liked that the virus spread occurred within a small space like an aircraft, where there's no real escape unless you own a parachute, or hide until the plane lands. I thought it was a cool setting, and a great setup for the rest of the film. If only the rest of the film stayed in the plane, or even within the terminal later on. Those aren't settings that one is used to seeing with this type of film. I think cool things could have been done considering. I don't know if the budget or lack of imagination didn't allow that to happen. But I did like the first half of the film at least.

I also thought the lack of found footage was a great way to separate itself from its inspiration. While it does make QUARANTINE 2 look like any other zombie-infection film, at least it steps away from the [REC] stigma and tries to be its own thing. It was nice to see a film that didn't make me have motion sickness for a change. Plus director James Pogue [who was a screenwriter for the three THE SKULLS films, that terrible ROLLERBALL remake, and GHOST SHIP] manages to do his best work here, creating tension and a nice smooth pace to build up characters and situations. It's never scary, but it's a fun watch.

And I also liked that the reason for the infection - in this case, an evolved form of rabies - was different from [REC] 2's reason for the infection. I do think [REC] 2 becomes more fun to watch due to the supernatural aspect of the infection, rather than watching a standard disease like in QUARANTINE 2. But both films have a justification for their different directions, so I can't hate on that.

I also thought the acting in the film was pretty decent as well. No one really stands out or anything, but all of it - including the teenage actor - were very passable and convincing. Josh Cooke, who is probably the most well known actor in the film, does a good job playing the mysterious guy who may be the hero, or the villain, depending on how you see it. I really was expecting bad acting, but was pleasantly surprised by how capable the actors were.

Bad Things: QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL is pretty generic as they come, especially when the airplane stuff is taken away. There's nothing remotely new about what's done here. The infected run and jump like Olympic athletes who failed a drug test, while the victims are pretty stupid in how they think and act. This sequel is a pretty cliche flick, where you yell at the screen at characters who do things that make no damn sense, only to fulfill a certain horror motif to move the story along. The final act is full of this stuff, which frustrates you since the film was kind of smart at its start. It plays out exactly as one would expect it to, which isn't the worst thing in the world. But if you're expecting at least one twist that would make QUARANTINE 2 stand out from the rest, you'll need a microscope to find it.

I also had issues with the lighting at times, as certain scenes were a bit too dark for me at times. This happens during the final act really, when all hell breaks loose. Some of the action is a bit too frantic, and not lit all that well, for me to make it all out.

And last, but not least, I wish the film had more to do with the title of the film. Yes, the characters are in quarantine, but the TERMINAL aspect is a very missed opportunity. There could have been more airplane action. Plus if the characters were trapped inside the air terminal a bit longer, and the infection broke out there, the tension would have been off the charts. It's nice that the TERMINAL sub-title is a clever twist of words about both the setting and the effects of the virus. But I wish more was done with it.

After I watched QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL, I thought it was just average. But after thinking about the film more and realizing it worked better than I first thought, I started to like it more. It's heavily flawed when it comes to its title, some of the lighting, and how generic it turns out being. But for a sequel no one asked for, the acting is decent, the direction is tense and energetic, and the story is passable enough to be engaging. QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL isn't a fly-away success, but it's definitely worth a look if you have 90 minutes to spare.

2.5 Howls Outta 4

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