The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 89 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Columbus Short, Greg Germann, Steve Harris, Daina Ramirez, Jonathan Schaech
Directed by: John Erik Dowdle
Music by: N/A
Written by: Drew Dowdle & John Erik Dowdle
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 17, 2009
"Sealed in…here is what happened"
When a news crew decides to trail a brave fire-fighting team, they never suspect that the first call for help they respond to that night may be their last. Now they're trapped in an apartment complex sealed off by the government. With no way of escape, they find themselves surrounded by frightened residents who are infected with a deadly mutant virus. What happens next is only known because of the footage they left behind.
Quarantine is based upon the Spanish horror film REC, and details what happens to a group of people who are sealed in an apartment building in Los Angeles after authorities discover that a mutant viral strain may have originated there. The events are captured by a young reporter and her cameraman who were shadowing a local group of firemen that got dispatched to a medical emergency call at the apartment building just prior to its sealing by government personnel. Then entire film is seen from the camera’s perspective. Once inside they encounter the building’s residents as well as two LAPD officers who also responded to the medical emergency. The call went out as a report of screams being heard from the apartment of a sickly elderly woman whose lives on one of the upper floors. The camera crew, firemen and cops go to her apartment and what they find there is the beginning of what will be a night filled with terror.
I like horror films like this that don’t involve the supernatural but contain similar elements. The building of suspense and the anticipation that precedes a good jump scare is part of the fun. This film reminded me a little of Cloverfield because of its strict use of telling the story through the camera’s eye. There were aspects of its implementation that were similar but not to the point were it felt as though it mimicked it. I think this is effective at allowing brief glimpses and quick pans that cause just enough of something to be seen that it leaves exactly what it might have been up to the viewer’s interpretation. This film’s premise obviously isn’t an original concept but I thought this was an above average horror/thriller that was paced well and offered a couple of decent jump scares. Tension and suspense ebbed and flowed nicely as the body/victim count increased. Once you come to realize what has slowly been building from the moment they enter the apartment house the ending is upon you. It is important to remember that this is a horror movie. The people in horror movies tend to be of limited intelligence which is why they are there in the first place. Don’t over analyze the whys and wherefores but just sit back and enjoy the ride like I did.
The rating is for Bloody, violent and disturbing content, terror and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Quarantine comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average of bitrate of 1.6 mbps.
This video presentation had a stylized appearance that was used in order to replicate the impression of seeing everything through the eyes of a video camera. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio was a great choice as it visually drew me into the picture. Colors were intentionally muted but were delineated enough so that they didn’t appear lifeless. Bright colors (such as the yellow worn by the firemen) came across with better depth and stood out but comparison. Fleshtones were bland and lacking in tonal warmth but I didn’t find it distracting. Images were well resolved but not definitively sharp which gave them a subtle smoothness in texture. Fine detail was appreciable in close ups while mid level shots were rendered with less defining articulation. Blacks were stable with good contrast and discernible gradational quality. Shadow detail was excellent and revealing of multi-stage visibility in low lit backgrounds and dark areas. I didn‘t notice any compression related artifacts or video anomalies associated with the encoding.
A movie like this lives or dies (no pun intended) by its soundtrack and the Dolby TrueHD presentation on this Blu-ray Disc nailed it. This is a captivating surround sound mix that features an immersive array of well placed sound effects that literally pray upon your aural senses. Near field sounds such as those that the “cameraman” was hearing as well as those picked up through the camera’s microphone were appropriately spaced within the sound field. This gave them a multi-dimensional perspective that placed you right in the middle of what was occurring. After the building is sealed the sounds of helicopters, voices, sirens etc can be heard outside. Their position rotated within the soundstage as the camera moved throughout the interior of the building. The effect was incredible as the helicopter continued to circle overhead, the sounds of footsteps on floors above or screams from off to one side or the other seamlessly encapsulated the listening position. The entire room was illuminated with an array of sounds that were both directional and ambient in nature. I was impressed with the attention to detail that went into reproducing the environments featured in the film. There is a scene where the camera crew is conducting an interview in a handball court at the firehouse. The acoustics and time delayed echo effects that we have all heard in open yet closed venues like that sounded superb. Shortly after that they enter the cab of a fire truck and its enclosed non reverberant aspects were delivered with same level of realism. Bass was rich, authoritative, and room filling as it accentuated the audio’s excellent dynamic range. Dialogue intelligibility was never a problem even during the film’s busier moments. This was a great surround sound experience that certainly made this film more enjoyable.
- Commentary with Writer/Director John Erik Dowdle and Writer/Producer Drew Dowdle
- Locked in: The making of Quarantine - 10 minute featurette
- Dressing the infected: Robert Hall‘s makeup design - 7 minute featurette
- Anatomy of a stunt - 3 minute documentary
- (HD) 6 BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled
Quarantine is an above average horror/thriller that may not offer viewers a brand new concept but it has enough going for it to keep the adrenaline flowing. Its high resolution Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is very well done and augments its presentation on Blu-ray Disc. Video quality is solid and the bonus content is middle of the road but the total package makes it worth checking out.
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Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
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Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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Wireworld Ultraviolet & BetterCables Silver Serpent Reference HDMI Cabling
Best Deal Cables - Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package