Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Steve Harris, Johnathon Schaech, Greg Germann & Rade Serbedzija.
Written by John Erick Dowdle & Drew Dowdle.
Directed by John Erick Dowdle.
Here we go again with yet another Hollywood remake of a foreign horror film, this time the superior Spanish production [REC]. On one seemingly uneventful evening, a young reporter and her cameraman are shooting a piece on a brigade of firefighters. When they receive a call to attend a disturbance at an apartment building, they discover some crazy shenanigans inside from one rabid tenant. Soon, the building is quarantined and it becomes clear that there is a virus loose, turning the tenants into ravenous, bloodthirsty zombie-like creatures. Because, you know, gone are the days when a movie virus meant certain death – it’s now a one-way ticket to flesh-eating town. Anyway, filmed entirely from the point of view of the cameraman, Quarantine follows the chaos and disintegration of the inhabitants of the apartment building as the virus claims victim after victim, and any attempt at escape is met with deadly force from the authorities staged outside. Not without its genuinely freaky moments, Quarantine is nonetheless just another addition to this faux-reality sub-genre that has reached its zenith and now, unfortunately, fails to convince.
Babylon A.D (2008)
Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Melanie Thierry, Mark Strong, Charlotte Rampling & Gerard Depardieu.
Written by Mathieu Kassovitz & Eric Besnard.
Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz.
The worst decision a director can make is to cast Vin Diesel in his or her film. And director Mathieu Kassovitz said as much after completing Babylon A.D – the film based on the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice Georges Dantec. When a director speaks so openly of such matters, it does not bode well for the actual film – and this is the case with Babylon A.D. In an apocalyptic future, a mercenary is hired by a Russian gangster to transport a young woman named Aurora across Europe to America. Pregnant, Aurora is part of an elaborate plan to bring forth a spiritual awakening by a religious sect known as The Noelites. Babylon A.D is an example of a bad film that could have been great. Not only is it let down by a dull, emotionless performance from Diesel, it suffers at the hands of some poor writing. But at times, it displays the kind of production design and direction that suggests a classic of the genre. Unfortunately, as a complete entity, the film never really works, feeling akin to the hobo cousin of Alfonso Cuaron’s modern classic Children Of Men.
Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2008)
Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, Kevin Grevioux, Steve Mackintosh.
Written by Len Wiseman & Danny McBride.
Directed by Patrick Tatopoulos.
The third film in the Underworld franchise is a prequel, tracing the events that lead to the ages-long feud between werewolf and vampire. Lucien, the first werewolf to ever take human form (known as Lycans), is in love with the vampire Sonja, a forbidden liaison that eventually incurs the wrath of Sonja’s father Viktor (Nighy). Locked away and marked for death, Lucien escapes, setting loose his Lycan buddies and gathering an army for a violent assault on the vampire lair. The story told here was explained briefly in the first Underworld film, and it was a tale that deserved to be told in it’s own right. Unfortunately for its audience, Rise Of The Lycans barely delivers, revealing little depth and feeling drastically half-baked. The film is a definite improvement on the horrendous Underworld 2, and benefits from actor Sheen reprising his role as Lucien from the original film. But what had potential to be a great series of films has become as disappointingly dreary as the vampire way of life.