Worst thing you’ll see all week: Quarantine 2

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The saga of [Rec] continues. When Sony bought the rights to this superlative found-footage Spanish zombie movie, they decided to cheaply remake it instead of banking on stupid Americans being willing to read subtitles. The result was Quarantine, featuring Dexter’s sister and a marked lack of appreciation for what made the original work. Protip: the cast. So that happened.

Then the creators of [Rec] made a sequel. [Rec] 2 effectively ignored what made the first movie good (did I mention the cast?) and even decided to jump genres, as if it hoped to get a head start on the resurgence of demonic possession movies that, for all we know, are hot on the heels of the occasional exorcism movie like The Rite and Last Exorcism. Stand by for that, I suppose.

Now there’s a sequel to Quarantine, the remake of [Rec], that wisely ignores [Rec] 2 and does its own thing. And in the process, it very nearly becomes the best thing you’ll see all week. Despite its middling cast and made-for-TV directorial style, Quarantine 2 has a good script and a solid sense for how to do horror in a post-9/11 air travel setting. This is classic Irwin Allen, but modern day, and with zombies instead of air traffic control mishaps. And for a while, it’s ratcheting up the tension, introducing its characters, hitting all the right beats, and generally getting it done. Way to go, Quarantine 2, written and directed by John Pogue, the writer of Ghost Ship! You may very well be the best thing to come out of a [Rec] movie since the original [Rec].

But then, like so many horror movies, it starts to come apart. It starts to explain things. It cracks. It starts to go over well tread territory. It crumbles. It forces a poorly conceived nightvision gimmick for no other reason than because it was in the original [Rec] and in the process it’s wishing so hard it was 28 Weeks Later, as the plucky determined stewardess and her frightened teenage charge grope their way through and into oblivion. But you simply can’t get there with this cast. And what’s with the late-game needle-into-eyeball squick factor? Really? 90 minutes of rampaging, virulent, blood-soaked zombies isn’t enough, so we’re going to take a break by sticking a needle in an eyeball? Oh, Quarantine 2. You could have been a contender.

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