The Quarantine Station in North Head, Manly, is known, internationally even, as one of spookiest places ever. When it was used as a quarantine station between 1833 and 1984, over 5000 people lost their lives from diseases like the Bubonic Plague (the freaky one where you bleed from your eyes or something) and Smallpox. Rather than risk contaminating more people, doctors euthanized patients to avoid an epidemic.
While it’s now run as an historical site, The Quarantine Station is still home to the spirits who perished there, and ghost tours run regularly. So it’s no small wonder that Aussie directors Bianca Biasi and Arnold Perez decided to tap into this well-known legend and create indie horror film The Quarantine Hauntings, shot in and around The Quarantine Station, and starring young actors Lauren Clark, Elizabeth Wiltshire, Darren Moss and Dalisha Cristina as The Girl in the Pink Dress.
It’s been less than a year since the death of her father, and 17-year-old Jasmine (Lauren Clark) has yet to come to terms with her loss. Her well-meaning mother sends her to a counsellor, who then dismisses her nightmares about a young girl and instead offers her pills to help her get by. Rather than dwell on her loss, Jasmine and her best friend Skye (Elizabeth Wiltshire) head to the Quarantine Station for research on a school assignment. Their younger brothers Zac and Blake (Jack Marshall and Bailey Skelton) tag along for the ride. As kids do, they fool around with various historical artifacts, well aware of the fact that ghosts haunt the station. A small prank goes awry and now, The Girl in the Pink Dress, one of the station’s most disturbed spirits, has followed Jasmine and her crew home …
This film has all the ingredients for a truly horrifying story. The real life ghost story (the crew actually enlisted the help of a medium to contact the girl’s spirit, and did actually make contact, if you believe that sort of thing), the history of the station, grieving young girl with caring best friend, bratty sibling and supportive boyfriend. For the most part, this film truly does make you sit up and take notice, and for those among us who live on the Northern Beaches, you’ll be very familiar with the Quarantine Station, the freaky stretch of road that is Wakehurst Parkway and the like. But for those outside of this area, it will pique your interest into one of the most haunted places in the country.
Performances were sound, but particular kudos goes to Wiltshire as ballsy bestie Skye, one minute the caring best friend and the next the terrified teen. I’m sure the cast will do more as they get older and gain more experience, but this is an indie film they should be proud of.
Audiences especially love the fact that they filmed on the site, from the creepy shower block to the workman’s cottage. Research a little further and you’ll read that the crew often found that their sound equipment would stop working – for no good reason – in certain areas of the station. While it’s not on the same level as fellow Aussies James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s The Conjuring or Insidious, this film will be, for Aussies, just the thing to further cement the legend of The Sydney Quarantine Station.
The Quarantine Hauntings will be released on Australia Day, 26th January 2015, in selected cinemas (Warringah Mall, Chatswood Mandarin, Entertainment Quarter, Eastgardens and Erina). Screens daily between 26th January to 1st February at 6:30pm.
Review Score: TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Australian viewers can demand for further screenings of the film at this link HERE