Subtitles Are Hard: "Quarantine" Review

Updated on January 3, 2020
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

There are no explanation messages or introductory titles.

Quarantine starts at the exact moment when the cameraman pushes the "REC" button.

Reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) have started recording their TV Show “Night Shift", focused on showing the stories of night workers.

The special today is focused on the night shift of a local fire station in Los Angeles. After a few hours of just idle boring stuff at the firehouse, Angela gets what she wants; an emergency call that allows her to accompany the firefighters to do their actual work.

Everyone arrives at the small three-story building where the call was made. The neighbors have heard old Mrs. Espinoza (Jeannie Epper) scream agonizingly, and they haven't been able to enter her apartment.

The firemen and the police manage to enter the apartment, only to find Mrs. Espinoza covered in blood and in a strange state. Mrs. Espinoza suddenly attacks one of the police officers, tearing her neck in the process. Everything, of course, is captured on camera.

When the firemen return to the lobby to seek medical attention for the poor dying policeman, they are surprised for the fact that the police, the military, and the CDC have cordoned off the street and sealed all exits of the building. A high-level health inspection commission will soon arrive to verify the existence of a possible biological threat.

That threat, of course, will escalate and take more victims, while the residents will be left with exponentially fewer spaces and exits.

That's Quarantine. An OK found footage movie about a zombie outbreak motivated by what we believe is a new strain of rabies.

Quarantine has only one small problem. A small detail, if you will. And it is that this movie had already been made the previous year, with better quality. Only in another language.

Yes, Quarantine is a shameless carbon copy of [REC]. Same premise, same characters, same shots, same turns, identical location. Quarantine doesn't make the minimum effort to really adapt the original story of Paco Cabezas, Luis Berdejo, and Jaume Balaguero to the Californian setting in which it develops.

That is why the first paragraphs of this review were identical to the review we wrote about [REC]. We were proving a point.

The only notable difference between the two films is that in Quarantine, the cast speaks English. Because, definitely, reading subtitles seems to be very difficult for US audiences.

That's the only reason why Quarantine exists. The lazy reader habit of the US population. And when a movie exists only to prevent your audience from reading some lines, its reason for existing suddenly seem not to be very compelling.

Yes. Quarantine is a completely unnecessary effort.

And it's a shame, because the work of Jennifer Carpenter (who already had been attracting glances for her work in The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the TV show Dexter), is really good. Her version of Angela Vidal is a flirty, more restrained scream queen.

What's Your Rating For Quarantine?

See results

Quarantine eliminates the religious subtext of the original, focusing on the medical reason of a new type of rabies as the main explanation for the outbreak. Yes, the creepy attic still exists, but the hints point to a chemical weapon released by a doomsday cult and not to a scientific experiment based on demonic possessions. La Niña Medeiros, a fundamental part of the mythos of [REC], simply does not exist in Quarantine.

The work of Doug Jones as the "Thin Infected Man" should have been a guaranteed shot, like everything Jones does (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape Of Water), but the truth is that it just doesn't have the same impact that the disturbing Niña Medeiros played by Javier Botet.

John Erick Dowdle does a good job directing, even in the smallest differences in the blocking of the scenes, but the truth is that Quarantine feels so unoriginal, that it feels forced. The cast has undeniable talent in names like Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Greg Germann and Marin Hinkle, but in general, the performances feel too rehearsed.

Perhaps one of the few silver linings of this unnecessary effort is that Quarantine ended up giving more popularity to the original little Spanish movie. Fans of the genre who still didn't know the previous version turned—and read subtitles without difficulties—to [REC].

That, and that its failure at the premiere was so resounding, that it was defeated by Beverly Hills Chihuahua, (on its second weekend!), which is hilarious. I repeat: Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Thank you, dumb family movie about talking dogs.

Movie Details

Title: Quarantine

Release Year: 2008

Director(s): John Erick Dowdle

Actors: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Columbus Short, a.o.

3 stars for Quarantine

© 2019 Sam Shepards


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)