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October 30, 2013

Quarantine 2: Terminal

by Franz Patrick


Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)
★ / ★★★★

Jenny (Mercedes Masöhn) and Paula (Bre Blair), flight attendants, thought it was just going to be another red eye flight from Los Angeles to Nashville. Not many passengers are on board but each has his own quirks. Henry (Josh Cooke) keeps flirting with Jenny and she more than welcomes the attention. Since he is so charming, she figures she just might give him her phone number when they land.

Meanwhile, there is George (Mattie Liptak), a pre-teen so intent on proving that he is old enough to be on his own and does not need a stewardess to keep a constant eye on him. A couple of seats over is Nial (Phillip DeVona), the mercurial husband of pregnant Susan (Julie Gribble). Meanwhile, an overweight man, Ralph (George Back), begins to get really sick on the back of the plane. Of course the man’s condition is related to the quarantined apartment building, setting of John Erick Dowdle’s “Quarantine,” this film’s predecessor, that Henry is watching on his laptop.

“Quarantine 2: Terminal” manages to deliver a somewhat amusing first few minutes in the way it shows the ennui of regular folks choosing a seat on the plane and settling in. Perhaps unintentional, there is something disgusting about it all which ranges from some of the characters looking like they have not taken a shower in the past day or so to a couple engaging in fellatio while recording the very act. There is a natural progression of increasingly awkward events which eventually lead up to Ralph vomiting and compromising everyone’s health and safety.

When the plane is in the air, I felt like I was watching believable characters, unlikable as most of them may be, as they fear that there is a possibility that they will never make it out alive. Eventually, however, the plane has to land. This is the point where the characters’ common sense and the screenplay’s creativity are thrown out the window.

I sat back in ambivalence as government agents from all branches quarantine the terminal. Everyone results to screaming at each other which accomplishes nothing other than being surprised when one of the infected manages to follow their obnoxious screaming. And then there is more running around and screaming, this time supposedly out of fear and panic than anger and confusion. As pandemonium unfolds, I began to wonder why John Pogue, the writer and director, even bothered to make the movie. Although we learn who conceived the virus and why, it is not enough to keep the movie afloat because we discover nothing new about the virus itself. Its priorities are misplaced.

Furthermore, is there some kind of rule that the first likable girl we meet in horror movies should almost always be the final girl? Jenny is not the bravest or strongest or smartest. She is a nice person but being nice can only get one so far given a most grave situation. Why not make Shilah (Noree Victoria), a medic, the last person standing? She is the only person who has something intelligent to say. We are handed a boring background story about Jenny’s relationship with her father, but the film does not do anything meaningful with it other than being a silent moment between infectious bites.

“Quarantine 2: Terminal” has the potential to be entertaining but it is ultimately weighed down by being so sloppily written and put together. And since the writer-director does not bother to increase the ante on any level and simply rehashes what he believes works from the first film, my diagnosis points toward good old-fashioned laziness.

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