Trans Sky Air, Flight 318, departing from LAX to parts unknown. It's not a packed crowd what's boarded, its make-up running the spectrum of humanity, from the PhD guy with the hamsters to the old lady with the cat, to the jerk with the pregnant wife, and the 12-year-old boy flying solo, the combat medic with the fear of flying, and the fat golfer who always brings his extended seat belt, and a few other folks. And the flight crew: two pilots, two flight attendants: Paula (Bre Blair), who is engaged, and the adventurous, fun-loving Jenny (Mercedes Mason), who seems projected to be our main character.
It's a horror sequel that works, partly because it's executed right and partly because of where the story takes place. What's more conducive to crippling claustrophobia than being in a plane in mid-flight and trapped in with zombies? But then they land. For the longest time I'd stayed away from the Quarantine series, frankly, because I'd seen the original Spanish series, [Rec], and I didn't think a remake could do it justice. Except Quarantine was almost as good as the first [Rec], and so, I thought I'd give the sequel a go. Plus, Mercedes Mason is in it.
There's brief mention of some weird sh-- going down in an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles, so there's your tangential tie-in to the first movie. It's a scene that also informs us that both stories are taking place simultaneously. [Rec] 2 returns us to the infected apartment building whereas Quarantine 2: Terminal shears away from that plot and plows ahead as its own movie. Sure, "Terminal" is in the movie title, but I'd still assumed that the plane would be the central hub of the plot. The scenes of the passengers confined in the plane with an infected were the most harrowing. I love the [Rec] series very much, especially its first two movies. Quarantine 2 isn't as good as those first two or as good as the first Quarantine. It's still a very serviceable zombie picture. There are some likable characters here: mostly Jenny but also the other flight attendant, the combat medic (Noree Victoria), and the baggage attendant (Ignacio Serricchio). As per usual, it's not advised that you get too attached to anyone in these horror shows.
I'd worked out a scene in my brain that extrapolates off the scene in which a frightened Jenny rings up her dad to ask for his advice. I pictured Ruben Blades on the other end, dispensing tough love. As you know, Mercedes Mason plays Ofelia Salazar in Fear the Walking Dead. Her dad on FtWD is, of course, the badass Daniel Salazar, played by Ruben Blades.
Quarantine 2: Terminal ranks a bit higher than a middle-of-the-pack zombie flick. The budget gets put to good use. The scare tactics aren't original but they're effective enough. The most creepy, grossest moment isn't from a chase or kill sequence but from a scene in which a guy injects himself in the most horrible places. Again, it's key that the movie makes you care about its characters. And I cared about Jenny who keeps a plucky front even though she's falling apart inside. Zombie purists may snarl a bit since the creatures here aren't Romero's brain-munching shufflers, but more like the pissed-off, fast-moving rage monsters in 28 Days Later.
Some lessons learned from this movie on how to better survive the zompocalypse:
- When someone crawling behind you in a vent in the dark warns you that they're turning, it's not the time for denial
- In a zompocalypse - or any other sort of crisis - don't be that idiot who keeps filming with his smartphone instead of diving in to help
- When trapped in an isolated terminal crawling with zombies, don't keep calling out people's names
- Just because an old guy has a stroke and is in a wheelchair doesn't mean he won't stand up and jump on your ass when he turns
- Never trust anyone who says, "Earth could use a good plague."
- Never throw away infrared goggles