Are first person, camcorder perspective films being a bit over played recently?
Maybe. But it has to be said that this style of shooting does seem to be a more effective way to involve the audience.
As far as horror is concerned, it all took off with the excellent Blair Witch Project; was somewhat successful with Diary of the Dead and now Quarantine, the US remake of the Spanish horror entitled [Rec].
The story opens with a TV station filming ‘Nightshift’, a show that follows various nightworkers as they carry out their duties. And in this particular episode, the Fire Brigade have been chosen.
Should be interesting, and not dangerous as long as you stay out of burning buildings… Well, you would think so wouldn’t you?
Another day in the office?
Well, for 10 minutes you watch as the film crew get to know the fire crew, and none of it’s that exciting. Until suddenly they are called out to a local apartment block to investigate a screaming woman (do firemen really deal with that?).
It turns out that the woman was screaming because she has turned into a neck biting zombie (of sorts), which would probably make you scream too. And the other people in the building soon find out that they have been locked in it to contain the zombie infection. Hence the title of the film.
Things start to go very bad very quickly for those trapped inside. And what follows is a very dark, shaky and out of focus roller coaster ride which pretty much shows you how horrible it would be to get stuck in a confined space with a bunch of zombies.
The trouble with realism.
One slight problem is that it’s always hard for actors to act like they aren’t acting (does that make sense?). And for me, that was a slight problem here. If one actor isn’t convincing enough, it can get a bit distracting.
Add to it the fact that the writers have to constantly find justification for the camera man to ‘keep filming’. I mean, if you were just a small time TV camera man, would you keep shooting after you had just seen someone gunned down in front of you? Filming would probably be the last thing on your mind.
However, at one point, the camera does come in particularly helpful… Although I shouldn’t tell you about that bit, it would spoil the surprise!
The director and cast are relatively unknown, save for perhaps Jennifer Carpenter, of The Exorcism of Emily Rose fame, who plays the lead role.
To sum up, if you are still appreciating camcorder type horror films, then this is for you. Otherwise, if you have seen Blaire Witch, Cloverfield and the Diary of the Dead, you might be kind of unimpressed by this one.
Also, I never thought that I would say this, but there do seem to have been a lot of zombie films recently… And each has a pretty similar formula to the rest, with the same types of characters, inner conflicts (i.e. should I kill my zombie child) and situations.
I can’t help but think that [Rec] would have been more impressive than this, as is usually the case with Hollywood remakes. Another member of the team will hopefully be reporting on that one shortly.
Additional film information: Quarantine (2008)