Monday, March 04, 2013

Loose Connection (Quarantine 2: Terminal)

After last weekend's movie marathon in Cork, not to mention reaching the second season of "Breaking Bad", I managed to watched a few (questionable) movies this week, including the subject of this week's write up. These include "The New Guy" (don't ask), "Superhero Movie" (again don't ask) and "Kickboxer". The other film I watched this week was inspired by attending the screening of "The Bay" last week, which got me thinking about "found footage" films in general.

I have mentioned before that this genre of horror simply doesn't work in a cinema environment. The aesthetic of the "found footage", which is meant for a television screen, is lost when projected on a wide screen. These films work better when you watch them either by yourself or with a few others in a home environment, not in a cinema screen as part of an audience.

I'm sure there are those who would find them scary, but every movie of this genre that I see in the cinema, the only crowd reactions I see are laughter, or people complaining about how rubbish or cheap looking the film is. In relation to the latter, I always wondered how many of these people watch reality television on a regular basis, but I digress.

There are a lot of things that hurt the "found footage" genre, such as erratic camera work, questionable acting, and the suspension of disbelief in relation to why the person holding the camera would be constantly filming constant criticism. But two that come to mind at this time are: the use of conventional film techniques such as sound, lighting, editing, music and even recognisable actors (of which "The Bay" is guilty of), and shoddy sequels. Which brings me to this week's film, "Quarantine 2: Terminal".


What did I think of the first film?

I saw this in the cinema (along with these same audience members that I'm talking about) and I thought the film itself was okay, despite the fact that explains the boiler noise in the background to legitimize the use of a suspension inducing humming noise. Not only that, it starred the boss from "Ally McBeal", a casting choice which takes away the illusion of watching something that's meant to show "real" people as opposed to film characters. Both of these flaws also appear in "The Bay".

It's been a few years since I've seen it, and shortly afterwards I watched "REC" just to make a comparison. While REC was the better movie in terms of "realism", the one decision that I approved of in "Quarantine" was the "human rabies" explanation as opposed to the supernatural "Exorcist" route of the original. For this blog entry, I also had a choice of watching "REC3" (having seen the second film already) as I decided on reviewing a film from this "found footage" genre. I chose "Quarantine 2" for the simple reason that I didn't even know there was a sequel, and it aroused my curiosity.

89 mins later.....

Actually make that.....

1 min later.....

I was astounded to find out that this sequel, based on a film that incorporates "found footage" style of film making, is an actual film, which already has characters that I have no interest in. Not only that.....

10 mins later.....

The film already introduces so many cardboard cut-out, cliched characters, spouting moronic dialogue that makes me hate them even more, in a film style that is instantly recognisable as a cheap, run of the mill, straight to DVD flick with a poor storyline and rubbish acting. And this is supposed to be connected to the first film?

I can't be bothered looking for any interesting images from this film.

Okay I know there are a lot of sequels that drift away from the essence of their predecessors. Granted a good few of them have been questionable in terms of direction, such as "Blair Witch 2""Halloween 3", "Elm Street 2" and "The Ring 2" for example. Ugh, even that last one still gives me a sick feeling to my stomach. But that's another story.

My point is, while these films were terrible in their own right, at least they tried to take some sort of risk with either a change in direction or concept. With the exception of "The Ring 2" which, now that I think about it, I could possibly end with writing about here. But that's because they are movies, which are all subject to artistic licence. With "found footage" films, you'd have to be pretty inventive to deviate from the formula set by the first one, even if may not work (see "Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2").

So the fact that the sequel to "Quarantine" is that of a sub-standard horror movie trying to tie itself to the first movie, is just as ridiculous as the premise and existence of "American Psycho 2". I remember the director of "Quarantine" talking about a possible sequel where it takes place in an airport, and I thought that seemed like a pretty good idea for a sequel. And it would have if this movie carried over the style from the first film. Instead it feels like there was an idea for a film called "Terminal", and in an effort to get more people to watch it, they stuck on the "Quarantine" name onto it.

And the scary part is, these were the thoughts that were going through my head within the FIRST 10 MINUTES of the film, and this was before the first infected passenger started attacking the crew. And given that the rest of the film annoyed me so much, I'm surprised at the direction this article has taken. I never intended this to turn into an opinion piece on "found footage" and stupid franchise sequels. But I felt I had a lot more to say about this film in relation to these topics than the actual movie itself.

Correction: there are no interesting images I can find from this film.
I think I may as well just wrap this up, given that I have work in the morning, and at time of writing it is past midnight and I've already missed the Sunday deadline for these posts. Otherwise I'd have to do a part 2, and believe me, I do not want to put myself in a position where I have to watch it again, in order to do that. So, to prevent myself from going on a rant, here are 10 things off the top of my head of the problems I had with this film:

  • Why did nobody realise the old man with Parkinsons Disease was not with the group when they escaped to the cargo holds? Wasn't the snobby old lady supposed to look after him? Then again, she couldn't look after her cat.
  • Speaking of which, the part where the cat is eating the vomit from the infected fat guy was so forced in its foreshadowing.
  • Nevermind the hamsters who turned out to be infected rats, did the cat get on-board in the first place? Don't animals have to be in a separate section of the plane?
  • Why am I so fascinated about this bloody cat?
  • I still can't understand why the infected pilots killed the token black guy, but left the old guy with Parkinsons alone.
  • The scene where the whole group of passengers are rallying against the air hostess/"leader" just comes off as stupid and unnecessary.
  • The baggage handler couldn't find a better time to tell the group about the tunnels underneath the hanger while all this was going on?
  • The night vision goggles are a poor reference to the first movie, and come off as tacky.
  • It plays like a children's movie with the kid passenger trying to convince the air hostess/"leader" about the guy she has the hots for. And not only is he one of the principal characters, but he is the sole survivor at the end, despite the fact that he becomes a total idiot within the final moments of the film.
  • Actually that's a lie. There was a second survivor, and that turns out to be.....


Last Minute Research

If there was one thing that actually shocked me about the film, it was while looking through the film's IMDb page. Not only has it got a rating just over the 5.0 mark, but the listed reviews from the critics for the most gave it a favourable review in comparison to the first film. Considering the other questionable sequels I mentioned above got mauled by critics on release, this one gets off easy. At least those films took some risks, this one just doesn't do anything to stand out from the endless amount of forgettable movies of this genre, other than a recognisable series title.

Somehow I think it got off lightly for the simple reason that it went straight to DVD, and that it didn't have much of a budget to work with. Not only does the release history not excuse the quality of the film in my book, but these same critics complain about the first film, of which had even less of a budget compared to the sequel. It's pretty clear that these people hate "found footage" style movies, and that's fine. But if their idea of an improvement is a dull, predictable, run of the mill horror film, then their opinions are no better than those who find enjoyment in performing monkey tryouts disguised as TV talent shows.

But I have a theory. This movie was produced by Sony, and the product placement for Sony throughout the film is obvious (but not as blatant as Virgin's forced advertising in "Dracula 2000", mind you). Infact, I bet Sony gave anyone reviewing this film a Vaio or PSP-Go in return for a good review. Then again, if Sony offered me a PS4 to give a good review for a crappy movie they produced.....

Sony should make the PS4 backwards compatible with previous PS games,
as a form of apology for their involvement in "Quarantine 2: Terminal".

And on a final note.....

Speaking of "Kickboxer" at the beginning of this article, I remember watching the final fight scene as a kid many years ago. But I never watched the whole movie until a few days ago. Have to say, it was hilarious to watch, in terms of 80s cheese, poorly staged fight scenes, and JCVD in general. And he didn't show his ass, like he does in a few of his movies. Thank God/Buddha/Allah/Duracell Bunny. As for this video, well, I'm easily amused.

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