An American remake of the Spanish film REC that finds a television host and her cameraman tailing a couple of firefighters and getting stuck inside a quarantined apartment building with zombie like tenants.

Personally, as a member of the living dead I would never want to get trapped inside an apartment building with some pissed off fireman. Have you seen how well they can swing an axe? No way do I want to be on the receiving end of that swing. Sure, he might just hit me in the head and take me out with one swing, than again, he might also miss and lop off an arm, maybe even more than an arm if he gets a second swing. Stranger things have happened. Yeah, I’ve watched them take out doors with a single whack, but a door is a big target. My head isn’t quite that big, despite what my ex might say. I guess I could always but a new arm, they reattach them at the union hall after all, but it’s such pain in the ass to get it done. All the nerves that need to be reattached, the flesh that needs to be grafted, the fact that dismembered appendages never seem to match up just right, and don’t even get me started on the amount of Cover-all that you need to use to blend it in so that it seems at least halfway normal. And even if they do manage to split my skull without doing some limb dismemberment, it’s still a horrible idea. Have you ever seen a split skull in real life? It looks awful, no chance of having my final funeral (yes, you get one extra funeral when you’re finally offed, we have our own traditions you know) in an open casket, and I am far too pretty to have a closed casket final funeral. Damn, maybe my ex was right about that big head.

I’d give you the plot for this, but I pretty much just did that with my review for REC. Quarantine is the American remake for REC, and it’s pretty much spot on the same as the original, almost shot for shot in most cases. There isn’t much that is switched up other than some minor details, i.e.:

  • Show trailing the firefighters is called “While You Sleep” in REC and ”Night Shit” in Quarantine.
  • Both movies have a medical technician as one of the tenants for purposes of pushing forward with the plot, however while this person is a medical intern in REC, he is a veterinarian for Quarantine. The switch up actually made a lot of sense for the remake as Quarantine has the virus being rabies based and passed from rats to humans, something a vet would be better prepared to explain early on in the film.
  • Only one Ministry of Health official is sent in for REC, but two CDC workers in Quarantine. We Americans demand a higher body count don’t you know?
  • Everyone needs to be gathered together in the main hall for Quarantine instead of all already being gathered together when the rescue workers arrive.
  • Quarantine has a greater amount of time spent at the fire station getting to know our pair of firefighting future zombie bait.
  • Last but not least, and this one is probably the biggest difference in terms of how it affects the movie, you get to see the cameraman in Quarantine instead of him always being behind the camera, meaning he has more character. I’ll get to why that is so important in a bit though.

That list is just about the only differences in terms of story, everything else is damn near identical, other than characters (you’re welcome to refer to me as Captain Obvious from here on out) and reason for the outbreak. As mentioned it’s rabies for Quarantine, and they let you know fairly early on. I assume to distance themselves from REC’s more supernatural reason for the zombies.  If you want to see the full description for the film you can find it here: REC

 Quarantine movie image Jennifer Carpenter QU3
{Jennifer Carpenter steps in as our new television host Angela while Jay Hernandez takes over the role of her fire fighting savior}

These movies are so damn similar that watching them back to back can be boring if you’re not careful because you will feel like you’re watching the same movie you just watched a second time through. Those differences mentioned above are just about the only things I could find that were at all dissimilar to the original film. They replicate much of REC with Quarantine, almost scene for scene, to the point that they feel almost like the same movie. If you’ve going to give both films a go, I would recommend giving it a bit between viewings. I’ve seen a lot of remakes in my time but none that were this close. These two are pretty much the same film with different languages and actors. I’m guessing that’s why they waited until Quarantine came out in theatres here in the states before releasing the DVD of REC, because there’s almost no reason to watch this if you’ve seen the original already. Though I’m still not sure why they had to fucking ruin the ending for it with both the movie posters and the trailers which basically show the ending of the film. Even the cover for the DVD shows the ending of the film.  I couldn’t find a cover that didn’t have the image of Angela being dragged away.  I’m guessing someone hated movies and just wanted to ruin it for movie goers.

Johnathon Schaech

{The frothing face of someone who despises movies when asked to design a movie poster}

As much as I still enjoyed Quarantine as a film by itself, I’d caution you against watching this INSTEAD of REC. If you want to watch both that’s fine, just give it a bit of time in between viewings, but if you only want to watch one, then go with the original instead, even if you’re one of those types that doesn’t like subtitles because “You don’t want to have to read the movie,” (seriously hate it when I fucking hear that, quit being so damn lazy and expand your horizons a bit). Quarantine isn’t a bad film, the original is just better, and the main reason is something I discussed when I reviewed REC, the amped up tension you feel the entire movie. That tension just isn’t as prevalent here. The tension is there for sure, it’s just not as great, partly due to the actors. They do a good job for what it’s worth, Jennifer Carpenter is particularly on her game here and I might this call one of her best performances, she even asked that she not be allowed to see the attic scene until filming so she’d be more surprised with what was up there, but they didn’t seem nearly as freaked out as they should. You’d think they’d be more terrified with the situation but it doesn’t seem like they are. Director John Erick Dowdle should have taken a page from his predecessor and not let the actors in on what was in store for them. It was also a mistake to give cameraman Scott a face. Part of what made the original so great was never getting to see who was behind the camera, added much to that tense feel as it put the viewer right behind the camera themselves.


{Quarantine is not quite the nail biter REC was}

As I said, this isn’t a bad movie, the acting is good, the effects are great, with some top notch make up work, and the story is still very much intriguing, but with it being so close to REC just without the level of tension, I’m going to recommend the original over this one.


The Undead Review


Directed By: John Erick Dowdle (As Above, So Below, Devil)

Starring: Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, The Last Exorcism of Emily Rose), Steve Harris (The Practice, Minority Report), and Jay Hernandez (Hostel, Crazy/Beautiful)

Released By: Andale Pictures, Screen Gems, and Vertigo Entertainment

Release Year: 2008

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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One Response to Quarantine

  1. Pingback: Movie Match Up: REC vs. Quarantine | UNDEAD REVIEW

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