“Quarantine” is something most horror movies aren’t: scary. Swallow-your-gum scary. Cry-for-your-momma scary. The film is an adaptation of a Spanish horror film called “REC,” but I won’t hold even its remake status against it. It borrows ideas from a raft of recent spook shows, but for once I don’t care about that, either, because it does what you always hope a B-grade horror will do: uses its borrowings well.
Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter, in a brave performance) is one of those annoying local TV personalities who gets the human interest stories, but is too cute and perky to be trusted with anything important. She and her cameraman are shooting a piece on the lives of firefighters.
A call comes in. An elderly lady in an apartment complex is wailing in her room, but won’t answer the door. When the firefighters and cops break in, they find her covered with blood and happy to see them only because they are walking meat pies. She bites one of them and the infection is off and running.
Director John Erick Dowdle takes his time getting started. When hell breaks loose, it breaks loose at the gallop. These rabid-cannibal zombies are quick and deadly. Happily, so is Dowdle. Bloody, frothing, clutching maniacs leap into the light and then out again. Horror movies are frequently compared to fun houses, but this one really has that vibe going full-tilt. —Doug Bentin