Pack your petri dishes and don't be late to the gate —! Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the wild blue yonder, Quarantine 2 takes to the unfriendly skies. Yep, that's right, horror fans: there's a sequel to Quarantine (which was, in turn, a fairly faithful sequel to REC) sans Jennifer Carpenter and sans the cameraman POV conceit. Newcomer writer/director John Pogue decided to keep just one constant — the absence of a musical score — but beyond that, all the REC world rules are thrown out without so much as a floatation device.
Quarantine 2 can't contain the scares even in its bumpy takeoff: within just a few minutes, the vile virus is free and spreading. Turning the plane's passengers into rabid, atrociously altered, zombie-like creatures (Almost Human FX seems to be recycling the blood and goo from their stint on another viral undead pic, The Crazies… and that's a very good thing!). Even the schoolteacher's class mascots, the hamsters, aren't spared. Teeth bared they help escalate the pandemonium, setting the scene for some intense yet darkly humorous moments (George Back is well-cast and he makes the most of his small, but, er, meaty role).
When most is said and done, the plane has made an emergency landing… but the emergencies are far from over. Now in the terminal, virus alive and well, newbie flight attendant Jenny (Mercedes Masohn), kindergarten teacher Henry (Josh Cooke), and little boy George (Mattie Liptak) are quarantined by the CDC, stranded, and forced to fight to survive.
After a pretty bang up beginning, Quarantine 2 hits a certain altitude and then goes into cruise mode. It rallies at the end, making watching worthwhile for those who can't get enough of this genre. The zombies and moments of horror are all there. However, for those with more discerning tastes, you might want to board with caution: the actors are hardly VIP-lounge material, the characters they play are nuts, and their dialogue has all the pizzazz of an airline safety procedures spiel.
Quarantine 2 enjoys a limited theatrical release on June 17, 2011 and is set to debut on DVD a few months later.
= = =
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson