Quarantine (2008 film)

Quarantine is a 2008 American found footage horror film directed and co-written by John Erick Dowdle, produced by Sergio Aguero, Doug Davison, and Roy Lee, and co-written by Drew Dowdle, being a remake of the Spanish film REC. The film stars Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Columbus Short, Greg Germann, Steve Harris, Dania Ramirez, Rade Šerbedžija, and Johnathon Schaech. It follows a reporter and her cameraman assigned to a pair of Los Angeles firemen who follow a distress call to an apartment building where they discover a deadly mutated strain of rabies is spreading among the building's occupants; escape becomes impossible once the government descends upon the building to prevent the virus from spreading beyond it, and the pair continue to record the events that unfold inside, of which the film itself is the final result.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Erick Dowdle
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • John Erick Dowdle
  • Drew Dowdle
Based onREC
by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
CinematographyKen Seng
Edited byElliott Greenburg
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • October 10, 2008 (2008-10-10) (United States)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million[2]
Box office$41.3 million[2]

Quarantine features no actual musical score, using only sound effects. It differs from its source material with exclusive scenes, characters, and dialogue, as well as a different explanation of the virus.

Quarantine was released in the United States by Sony's subsidiary Screen Gems on October 10, 2008. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with many praising its atmosphere, performances, the horror elements and production values, but criticism aimed for its plot, story and character development, in particular the ways it closely mimicked the film on which it was based. The film, however, was moderately successful at the box office, grossing $41.3 million worldwide against a $12 million budget.[3]

It was followed by a sequel, Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011).


On the evening of March 11, 2008, news reporter Angela Vidal and her cameraman Scott Percival are filming their report on the nightshift at station 27 in the Los Angeles Fire Department. While recording, the two accompanied firefighters Jake and Fletcher who receive an emergency call at the local apartment building. Arriving, screams from a self-barricaded apartment block room of an elderly resident Mrs. Espinosa were heard by the landlord Yuri, his wife Wanda, and other residents: veterinarian Lawrence, opera teacher Bernard, his roommate Sadie, lawyer Randy, mother Kathy, her daughter Briana, and immigrant African couple Nadif and Jwahir. The crew, firemen, Yuri, and police officers: Danny Wilensky and James McCreedy, enter where they are attacked by an aggressive Espinosa who bites both James and Fletcher. While they were tended by Lawrence downstairs, Espinosa lunges at the group but Danny shoots her down. As the residents are ordered downstairs for their own safety, the team finds another resident Elise in a similar condition as Espinosa's and bring her downstairs with the others. Those wounded by Espinosa become sick and delirious.

The authorities and CDC suddenly quarantine the building, not allowing anyone to leave and claiming they swept the inhabitants. Angela interviews Briana who states that her dog is at the vet because he was sick. After Angela's interviews, Lawrence recognizes the symptoms as similar to those of rabies. Angela and Scott follow Bernard and Sadie to their apartment to check the news only to witness a rabid dog maul Randy to death at an elevator. They are then attacked by Elise who becomes aggressive as Scott kills her in self-defense. CDC officers wearing hazmat suits enter the building to test Fletcher and James who both have become naturally aggressive and bites one of the officers and Lawrence. The surviving inspector reveals that Briana's dog is the reason the CDC has quarantined the building, as it was infected before being taken to the vet. After the revelation, Briana succumbs and bites her mother before fleeing upstairs. Kathy is promptly handcuffed when she tries to go after her. The group then heads up to Espinosa's apartment where they end up finding Briana, who is now infected with blood-looking eyes. She suddenly bites Danny, which forces the others to rush back downstairs just as all the infected break loose. Kathy, who is still handcuffed, is left to die as the infected James kills her whilst both Nadif and Jwahir are infected by the infected Lawrence.

The remaining group retreat upstairs and lock themselves in a room but discover both the inspector and Sadie have been bitten from the attack. Out of desperation, a grief-stricken Bernard attempts to escape, but is killed after getting fatally shot by a sniper outside of the building. Yuri then deduces that the basement, which connects to the sewers, may be the only way out of the building. As he explains this to Jake, however, Yuri is suddenly attacked and bitten by the health inspector - who had just succumbed to the infection. Wanda is unable to help her husband and, refusing to leave him behind, ends up getting bitten by a now infected Sadie. Seeing the couple's death forces Jake, Angela, and Scott to flee the room.

The trio manage to find to the basement key whilst also overcoming most of the infected along the way. However, Jake is eventually bitten by the infected Yuri, leaving Angela and Scott as the human survivors. Rather than making their way to the basement, the pair are forced upstairs to the attic apartment by the remaining infected, where they find lab equipment and newspaper clippings about a doomsday cult and a break-in at a military's biological facility for chemical weapons lab where "Armageddon Virus", a deadly mutated strain of rabies that started everything in the apartment, was stolen. A trapdoor opens from the attic and Scott loses the camera light broken by a small infected boy swatting at it as he investigates it. Scott turns on the night vision before he and Angela hear loud banging noises inside the apartment. The source of the noises is an emaciated person, apparently unaware of them, blindly searching.

They attempt to escape but Scott drops the camera as the figure attacks him. Angela retrieves it and sees the infected man eating Scott. Overcome by fear, she cries out and is attacked. Angela drops the camera that records her being dragged into the darkness, screaming.




After the success of the Spanish horror film, REC, in 2007, Sony Pictures and Screen Gems had begun working on a remake of the original film. Duo filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle were hired to write and direct the film, while Roy Lee, Sergio Aguero and Doug Davison are serving as producers.

Unusually for a Hollywood production, Quarantine does not feature a musical score. The apartment complex was a set but a fully functioning one with four floors.


Principal photography on their film began on January 2008 and wrapped in March 2008 in Downtown, Los Angeles, California. The film was shot in chronological order and the average shot was between 4 and 6 minutes long.


Quarantine was released in the United States on October 10, 2008, by Screen Gems.

Home mediaEdit

Quarantine was released February 17, 2009, on DVD and Blu-ray.[4]


Box officeEdit

On its opening day, the film grossed $5,379,867, ranking #1 in the box office.[2] The film opened at #2, behind the second weekend of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, earning $14,211,321 in its opening weekend.[5] It grossed a total of $41,319,906 worldwide against a production budget of $12 million.

Critical responseEdit

The film was not screened in advance for American critics.[6]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film reports an 56% of critics gave positive reviews based on 86 reviews; the average rating is 5.67/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Quarantine uses effective atmosphere and consistent scares to stand above the crop of recent horror films."[7] Metacritic reported the film had an aggregate score of 53/100 based on 14 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[8]

Reviewing it in the New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis praised its "solid acting and perfectly calibrated shocks".[9]

Quarantine received a 3.5/5 stars from Bloody Disgusting, which wrote, "A study in claustrophobia, expertly cast, edited and staged with expert meticulousness and precision, the film’s only major flaw is the need to explain that which never needed explaining."[10] Michael Gingold of Fangoria rated it 3/4 stars and called it "an acceptable substitute" for the original film.[11] Empire was lukewarm in its response but critical of the rushed and copied-verbatim style of the remake.[12]

Paul Nicholasi of Dread Central rated it 1.5/5 stars and called it hard to watch, both because of the shaky cam and the pacing.[13] Joe Leydon of Variety described it as "a modestly inventive, sporadically exciting thriller that nonetheless proves too faithful to its central conceit for its own good."[14]

Artistic responseEdit

Jaume Balagueró, who co-wrote and directed the REC series, expressed distaste for Quarantine by saying:

"It's impossible for me to like, because it's a copy. It's the same, except for the finale. It’s impossible to enjoy Quarantine after REC. I don’t understand why they avoided the religious themes; they lost a very important part of the end of the movie."[15] Paco Plaza stated that Quarantine "helped REC to become more popular than it was. It moved a spotlight onto our film. You know, the fact that it was going to be remade in Hollywood, it was big news in Europe. Everyone knew that it existed, this tiny Spanish film."[16]



  1. ^ "QUARANTINE (18)". British Board of Film Classification. August 14, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Quarantine (2008) - Daily Box Office Result". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
  3. ^ "'Quarantine' delivers the heebie-jeebies dexterously". The Charlotte Observer. October 17, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  4. ^ Wallis, J. Doyle (February 15, 2009). "Quarantine". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results from 10/10 - 10/12". Box Office Mojo. August 27, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  6. ^ "'Quarantine' delivers the heebie-jeebies dexterously". The Charlotte Observer. October 17, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "Quarantine (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "Quarantine (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  9. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/movies/11quar.html
  10. ^ "Quarantine (REC Remake)". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  11. ^ Gingold, Michael (October 15, 2008). "QUARANTINE (Film Review)". Fangoria. Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "Empire Online review of Quarantine".
  13. ^ Nicolasi, Paul (October 8, 2008). "Quarantine (2008)". Dread Central. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  14. ^ Leydon, Joe (October 28, 2008). "Review: 'Quarantine'". Variety. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  15. ^ Jaume Balagueró talks “[REC] 4: APOCALYPSE”
  16. ^ Entertainment Weekly
  17. ^ Dowdle Brothers Set to Direct Devil for Universal

External linksEdit