2007 -- The Spanish "found footage" horror film [REC] makes quite the splash among horror fans at various film festivals around the world.
2008 -- Sony releases their "found footage" remake, Quarantine, which does fine box office but generally irritates the horror fans for its failure to deviate (even remotely) from the original film.
2009 -- Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero present [REC] 2, which picks up immediately after [REC], heads off in some crazy new "found footage" directions, and earns even more fans than the original. (Maybe.)
2011 -- Sony releases Quarantine 2: Terminal in mid June -- on less than a dozen screens.
Now that you're all up to speed (oh, [REC] Genesis and [REC] Apocalypse are also on the way), you probably have a few questions. No, Quarantine 2 is not a remake of [REC] 2 at all. They're not even close. And yes, the "found footage" approach has been scrapped this time around in favor of a more traditional style of visual storytelling. And (this one's my favorite) NO, Quarantine 2: Terminal isn't half bad! One can plainly see why Sony is intent on releasing the thing directly to video (with only a cursory stop at the multiplexes to appease some contractual obligations), as it has no big stars to speak of, no brilliant concept to sell, and little beyond shocks and jolts to recommend it -- but a movie is a movie, regardless of where it screens, and it'd be tough to say that Quarantine 2 isn't kinda, well, fun. Basic, familiar, even predictable, absolutely -- and certainly a very far cry from the original [REC] -- but still more than passable horror fodder for a boring Friday night. Or at least 88 minutes of one.
Borrowing a page from Scott Thomas' underrated 2007 horror flick Flight of the Living Dead, Quarantine 2 starts off on a dinky little passenger plane that has four crew members, about a dozen travelers, and ... a few rodents baring the insidious virus we saw in the first Quarantine flick. The connections between that film and Part 2 are tenuous at best, and to divulge them would unravel a specific plot spoiler, but suffice to say that fans of the original Quarantine will at least appreciate the attempts to bridge the two movies. Something truly gross happens on board the plane, there's a quick, spooky emergency landing, and then our survivors find themselves "quarantined" within the "terminal." That's where the title comes from.
Clearly produced for a fraction of the first film's budget, Q2 earns some points for the sheer novelty of its easy-to-swallow premise. The movie takes place in two locations: airplane and massive baggage handling facility, both of which are occasionally mined for maximum creepiness. One wonders how screenwriter (and first-time director) John Pogue came to the project, but he does bring a certain professional confidence to what is essentially a low-budget afterthought of a movie. If people want to knock Green Lantern for costing $250 million, then it only seems fair to praise a filmmaker who can turn pennies into something amusing. (John Pogue's earlier screenplays were U.S. Marshals, The Skulls, Rollerball, and Ghost Ship. I enjoyed Quarantine 2 more than any of those flicks.)
Perhaps I'm tempted to give a scrappy little sequel to a half-decent remake of a vastly superior horror film a break, and that's probably because 70% of the "studio released" horror films are some form of Sorority Row or Prom Night or (gasp) The Roommate -- but sometimes there's something to be said for approaching a new flick with lowered expectations. You may not find Quarantine 2 in your local theater (odds are you won't) but it has a workmanlike, if rather familiar, approach that offers some strong performances, a few nasty surprises, and a script that's appreciably un-stupid. Essentially, I'll take a slight, diverting and periodically cool horror sequel over something aggressively stupid that was made by a committee of teenage demographic headhunters. Sony may not give a crap about Quarantine 2, but I wouldn't be surprised if the horror fans dig it well enough.