I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re all feeling a little exhausted lately. At times, it seems like we have been living with the effects of COVID-19 forever. While this certainly isn’t the case when thinking logically, emotionally speaking, the whole thing has long overstayed its welcome. The virus is everywhere you look, plastered across every headline and taking center stage on every broadcast. It is simultaneously the most popular and most reviled subject that exists today. You simply can’t escape it, no matter what you do. So, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there would eventually start to be movies covering the topic as well.
HOUSE OF QUARANTINE is just one of the first in what I can only imagine will be a long line of pandemic-themed films to emerge post-2020. Focusing on the story of a film crew who become trapped in a house together after the initial COVID-19 lockdown, the movie has a lot in common with other projects like Night of the Living Dead or – if we’re going super old-school – Lord of the Flies. What I mean is that it’s less about the external threat than it is the internal one. As the plot progresses, things between the cast grow increasingly tense and volatile. Finally, these pressures erupt, demonstrating that the breakdown of human relationships and power dynamics can be just as dangerous and deadly as the virus itself.
From a theoretical standpoint, HOUSE OF QUARANTINE is an intriguing concept. The film attempts to serve as a broader allusion to a much bigger picture, a situation that we have all become intimately familiar with over these last two years. It makes a sincere effort to reflect society’s general response to the Coronavirus pandemic by acting as a microcosmic representation of our most dominant anxieties. Including everything from civil unrest, supply shortages, and extreme paranoia surrounding viral transmission, none of the events portrayed within the movie feel alien to us at all. It’s pretty transparent when you take a moment to think about it, but this abundance of clarity is not necessarily a bad thing. Without a doubt, HOUSE OF QUARANTINE was a project meant to convey a particular message. However, for various reasons, this noble intention falls flat when actually put into practice.
For starters, the characters don’t come off as being relatable in any significant way. Quite the contrary, if anything, they are more obnoxious than they are sympathetic. When put into the context of a psychological thriller, it doesn’t exactly equate to a recipe for success. You see, it’s difficult to be afraid for somebody that you don’t like, which stands as a glaring fault in the film’s overall delivery. When you also take into consideration HOUSE OF QUARANTINE‘s other flaws – such as its slow, clumsy pacing and uninspired cinematography – it turns what could have been a compelling social commentary into just another lukewarm, passing fancy. There is no question in my mind that there will eventually be a film that perfectly embodies this strange and unsettling time in human history. Sadly, it simply isn’t going to be this one.
Final Score: 5 out of 10