The supernatural is always a fascinating subject when it comes to movies. Everyone loves a good ghost story, especially those who scare easily; fear-induced adrenaline is a feeling you simply can't get anywhere else. Am I right or am I right? Since quarantine has become the norm now, it's no real surprise its begun to creep into our beloved ghost stories, such as the case in this film. In theory, such a mix makes perfect sense considering many horror and supernatural thrillers involve isolation to start with. Making such films while actually in quarantine is another story - but as someone wise once said... just do it! Right?
"Specter Of Quarantine" begins with three people during a Zoom call discussing isolation and life in general. They've been gathering to hold a virtual seance and soon, it's a full house... err... call. Eventually, the medium joins the group as the conversation turns to why they're all gathered. As pointed out, to some it seems a little ridiculous - it's not like a ghost can create an account and go online... or can they? As the medium summons Emily, the ghost in question, we learn that Emily has always been there. She's the little empty square that nobody seemed able to identify. What comes next is straight out of the horror movie handbook. Sort of - because this is all over a Zoom call. Eventually, the inevitable starts to happen because as Joshua Nelson says, if you think you're safe at home... think again.
Let's cut right to it, shall we? "Specter Of Quarantine" is an interesting idea and puts on a good show for what it is. But that's just it, I had trouble getting past what it actually is. A Zoom call. Just take a look at the screenshot at the top of your screen, and you've essentially summed up the visuals of this short film. It's a Zoom call. I won't lie, I had some trouble finding a cinematic feel when I can simply take a look at my kids' laptop and see the exact same screen at almost any given moment. Sure, full-screen cuts of the cast were used, and a spice of an entire laptop was visible from time to time but essentially, a big screen of boxes with faces in them was this entire film.
I also couldn't help but notice the ridiculously direct conversations from these people, sometimes bordering on silly but putting that aside, I had a hard time finding any really likable characters. Add to that, we don't actually get into the plot for about eleven or twelve minutes into the film; everything before that is pointless banter. I can say that "Specter Of Quarantine" redeems itself quite nicely during the final act - and even features some really good acting. My main concern is that the average viewer may not stick around that long. There's just so little eye candy, visually, to reel people in.
Perhaps, because people are getting so used to the Zoom format, Nelson's film will look a little more normal to them than it does to me; I just had real problems trying to reconcile a Zoom call as a film. Maybe a shorter version of the film would have helped, or maybe I'm just an old dude who can't let go of the past. "Specter Of Quarantine" has an interesting concept, and some good performances at the end - but won't be for those who prefer the more traditional approach to movie making. Two stars.